GG swears in seven judges

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SEVEN National and Supreme Court judges were sworn in at the Government House yesterday.
The judges included the newly appointed Deputy Chief Justice Ambeng Kandakasi for a 10-year term, Justice Derek Hartshorn for three years, while acting judges, Justice John Numapo, Justice John Kaumi, Justice Sinclair Gora and Justice David Susame, were all in for 12 months.
The ceremony was witnessed by acting Governor-General Job Pomat.
Minister for Justice and Attorney-General Davis Steven, who is also the chairman of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, told The National that Justice Kandakasi was well qualified for the position, both in his jurisprudential deposition and leadership skills.
He was selected after a rigorous process of checks and independent consultations.
“The view of the chief justice on succession planning and governance responsibility favored the appointment of Justice Kandakasi from among other senior judgers who are equally qualified.
“The nation is blessed to have a crop of capable and highly respected team of judges to administer justice for our people,” he said.
Steven said acting judges who were given further one year appointment were mainly those who were initially elevated from the lower benches.
All of them served in our provincial courts.
He said Justice Miviri had been confirmed for a permanent appointment on the recommendation of chief justice following consultation with judges.
Steven said Justice Hartshorn was the only expatriate whose term had expired and the JLSC had no hesitation in endorsing his reappointment.
“Records show that Justice Hartshorn as a very hard working and among our most efficient judges,” he said.
“He manages our commercial trace in Waigani, a position he has held since his initial appointment. He also discharges other duties,” Steven said.
Meanwhile Steven said JLSC was considering recommendations to review the appointment process for the chief justice and deputy chief justice.
“Another reform we are looking into is for an extension of term of tenure of expat judges from three to 10 years.
“Future appointments of senior magistrates are also a matter that has been raised.
“The new CJ and deputy will consult on these issues while due process is undertaken to deal with the reforms highlighted,” Steven said.
The ceremony at the Government House was also witnessed by Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika, other judges, family members and friends.