Judge berates lawyer

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A JUDGE has berated a lawyer for submitting an unsigned document in an urgent application case regarding an eviction exercise, telling him to also pay court costs for the adjournment.
Justice Oagile Bethuel Dingake scolded lawyer Malcom Sumbuk from the Public Solicitor’s Office in the National Court in Waigani, who was representing George Kakas and 63 settlers facing eviction in Gordon, Port Moresby. They were seeking a restraining order from the court.
“You are unprepared. The document is not signed. Does that show how serious the matter is? If it is serious, then why not you have the plaintiffs’ signatures on the document?” Dingake said.
Justice Dingake adjourned the matter so that the documents could be prepared properly. He ordered Sumbuk to pay court costs for the adjournment.
“This is unbecoming of lawyers to come to court unprepared and present unsigned documents,” he added.
David Levy from Manase and Company Lawyers who represented the National Housing Corporation asked the court to order a specific amount for Sumbuk to pay.
But Justice Dingake refused saying it would be biased if he came up with an amount. He told the parties to discuss it among themselves and see the court registry to sort out the matter.
Meanwhile, City Manager Bernard Kipit withdrew the administration of the demolition order for the National Housing Corporation flats in Gordon.
“I have given direction for the National Capital District Commission building board to withdraw the order until we receive further advice from our lawyers. There is currently a court proceeding between the tenants of the flats and the developer.”
Kipit said he was aware of the demolition order for the flats issued by the NCDC building board.
“The order was on the ground of structural safety and health hazard (in the flats),” Kipit said.
“It is the responsibility of the building board to decide. But then the administration of the demolition exercise organised by the developer Mathew Minape on Tuesday was not right.
“It was Minape who had organised his people to evict the tenants. NCDC does not conduct eviction exercise like that.”
Kipit said the building board had made it clear to Minape that the houses had safety and health issues.
“And we point out that if you take responsibility, you need to first of all evict those people living there properly. You must find a land for them. Secondly there is an ongoing court order and you must deal with that first before you take our (building board) order and evict them.”

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