Kimbe court dismisses soldier’s application

National, Normal


THE National Court in Kimbe, West New Britain province, dismissed the judicial review application of a member of the PNG Defence Force who claimed he had been treated unfairly by the military.
Raphael Pius was dishonourably discharged after being absent for two years without seeking proper leave approval.
Pius enlisted in the defence force in January 1990. He held the rank of Lance Corporal and was attached to the Support Company, First Royal Pacific Island Regiment (1RPIR).
He was based at Taurama Barracks, Port Moresby.
In Feb 2003, he applied for retrenchment and both his unit commander and major in charge supported his application and forwarded it to the defence council for approval. 
While the approval was pending, the plaintiff went to Kimbe to start life again as a civilian.
The court heard that Pius did not receive any responses, and in 2005, he returned to Port Moresby to find out the reason of the delay.
He was told that he had been discharged in May 2005 on the grounds that his retention was not in the best interest of the force and his retrenchment application was denied.
Pius initiated legal action against the PNGDF for the dishonourable discharge.
He said the procedures in the code of military discipline, which provide for a member being charged and given a hearing, were not followed.
He also claimed he was denied natural justice.
However, presiding judge, Justice David Cannings found that Pius had not complied with some of the provisions stipulated in the code of military discipline and the Defence Force was correct in its decision to discharge him as he was absent without leave.
The judge was satisfied that the plaintiff was not treated unfairly, and, therefore, refused to grant the application for judicial review and other relief sought by the plaintiff.