Dismissal of election petition case questioned

National

By TREVOR WAHUNE
THE Supreme Court in Waigani has questioned why an election petition for the Port Moresby North-East seat regarding the 2017 general election was dismissed entirely in an objection to competency despite the allowing of five grounds out of 10.
Judge Ellenas Batari, sitting as a single Supreme Court judge yesterday, was supposed to make a decision on a leave application filed by candidate Labi Amaiu, after hearing the case on Oct 23, 2018.
The application was filed after the petition was dismissed by the National Court. However, the court found new issues that five out of 10 grounds raised by Amaiu that survived the objection to competency were not considered by the trial judge before he made his decision.
Justice Batari yesterday questioned Port Moresby North-East MP John Kaupa and the Electoral Commission why the case was entirely dismissed after five grounds had been allowed.
Amaiu, through his lawyer Stanley Liria, told the court that Kaupa and the Electoral Commission’s negligence to file submissions that were supposed to be submitted in court yesterday, showed they were not interested in duty.
The court found that the trial judge used only one ground to dismiss the entire case.
The dismissal was made after Liria filed a submission to a notice of motion by Kaupa, which Kaupa and the Electoral Commission claimed was filed out of time.
But Liria at the time was seeking an extension of two days to allow him to complete filing his submissions. Justice Batari ordered Kaupa to file his submissions by Tuesday to explain what happened to the other five grounds.
“Without your explanation to what happened to those five grounds I cannot make a decision.
“What happened to the five grounds that were said to be okay?
“What were the findings?”
Kaupa agreed to file submissions by Tuesday.
Justice Batari told Kaupa that he could still engage another lawyer to file submissions to “explain the issue that is before the court.”
“You need to explain the effects of those grounds that were said to be okay,” Justice Batari said.

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