Judge dismisses case over surname drama

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday February 26th, 2014


A BUS owner’s claim for damages has been thrown out by the National Court because he used three different surnames in court documents he filed.

Justice Catherine Davani said the use of three different surnames placed a lot of doubt in her mind as to the authenticity and legitimacy of the claims.

She said the writ of summons and statement of claim had the name of the bus owner as Steven Amala. In an amended writ and statement of claim, the name was changed to Steven Amla. 

In an affidavit for him, he was referred to as Steven Angra. A statutory declaration to the affidavit named him as Steven Amuka.

“Why anybody would use different names is indeed alarming because to a judge sitting in a court of law and presiding over a matter, the one conclusion that comes to the fore is that the claim is not genuine,” she said.

“I will dismiss this claim because it will be a futile exercise to proceed to assessment when the plaintiff is known by many other names.”

Amala claimed that he lost income when a bus he owned was locked up by Insp Anderson Bawa at the Four-Mile police station on March 3, 2006, after police accused him of having no driving licence. 

Amala was cleared by the Waigani traffic court after he produced his driving licence.

Amala told the court he suffered loss of income during the period in which he continuously followed up on the release of his bus.

A state lawyer from the office of the Solicitor General asked Justice Catherine Davani to dismiss the case because the plaintiff was known by different names.

He said it called into question the authenticity and legitimacy of Amala’s claims.