Judge reserves ruling on petition

National

A JUDGE has reserved her ruling on an election petition between Hela Governor Philip Undialu and candidate Francis Potape to Friday after hearing arguments from both parties concerning reasons for the case’s untimely delay.
The matter appeared before Justice Teresa Berrigan in the Waigani National Court yesterday after Potape filed an application to dismiss a substantive order by the Supreme Court that directed Undialu to file a review book that concerned a National Court decision that ordered a recount for the Hela Governor’s seat dated July 28.
The Supreme Court order, dated Oct 14, directed through Unidialu’s lawyer Goiye Gileng to file a review book within 14 days after he disputed and appealed the court ordered recount.
Potape, through his lawyer Paul Othas, submitted that Gileng had failed to provide him the review book after Oct 28, which was the date set for him (Othas) to receive it.
However Gileng told the court that the delay was due to two Supreme Court review applications that were currently in place (SCR 8, and SCR 10).
SCR 8, was filed by Undialu, and SCR 10 was filed by the PNG Electoral Commission.
Gileng told the court that both applications arose from the court ordered recount, and that an application to have both Supreme Court Review (SCR) applications consolidated were awaiting a decision before Justice Derek Hartshorn.
Gileng submitted that the delay was not made deliberate by him and electoral commission lawyer Alice Kimbu.
“We were aware that the case would return on Oct 24, and we were ready to proceed with an application to set aside the orders of Oct 14, however the matter was listed on the court diary,” Gileng said.
“We had other matters to attend to in other court rooms and advised Othas to locate where the case was and advise us to attend.
“However Othas did not contact us to attend the court where he was at after he located the court room.
“However, without any communication, Othas went ahead to file this application,” Gileng said.

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