AN election petition matter between petitioner Roy Pena Roltinga and Dei MP Puri Ruing was adjourned to next month by the Waigani Supreme Court yesterday.
Mr Roltinga challenged the 2007 election victory of Mr Ruing as Dei MP in court but the petition was dismissed on Sept 27, 2007, on the basis that the petitioner did not comply with relevant procedures of the National Court rules.
The petitioner then appealed to the higher court to review the National Court decision that dismissed the petition but the matter was delayed in court up until it was adjourned yesterday.
The reason for the delay was that, one of the judges, late Justice Timothy Hinchliffe, who presided among a three-man panel of judges, passed away without delivering the decision.
The two other judges, Justice Panuel Mogish and Elenas Batari decided to hand down the decision but the parties did not agree and wanted a full three-man panel of judges to deliver the decision.
While in the process of arranging other judges, the Supreme Court election petition review rules 2002 were amended on Dec 3, 2007.
In court yesterday, the petitioner’s counsel Kelly Naru submitted that after the amendments were made to the court rules, they had to file another application to discuss on the new and old rules of the court, which they could rely on to proceed with the matter.
But Mr Ruing’s counsel David Lora argued that the petitioner went ahead and filed an application for review without obtaining leave of court, and therefore, it was an abuse of court processes.
Mr Lora argued that the amended rules were used in many similar election petition cases were leave was obtained.
After observing the submissions, the three-man judges led by Justice Les Gavara-Nanu, ordered that the matter be adjourned to the next Supreme Court hearing.
It also ordered the petitioner to prepare its complete supplement trial documents by Dec 8.
The court further ordered that all other documents should be filed and served to each party before next Feb 19.