JULIA DAIA BORE
OUSTED South Bougainville MP Michael Laimo appeared before the Supreme Court briefly yesterday for a directional hearing into his appeal using the “slip rule”.
It is believed to be the first time that the “slip rule” has been used.
Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia told the parties to study sections 155 (4) and 155 (2)b of the Constitution relating to the “slip rule” which allows the court to review its decision and to reopen the matter.
He said they would also need to look at case laws on whether leave was required separately.
He then adjourned the matter to Sept 7.
The “slip rule” is the court’s last available legal process that looks into the possible alleged errors by either the court or the presiding judge when dealing with and handing down a final decision.
Earlier, Chief Justice Sir Salamo said they would also have to determine whether he could continue to preside over the matter.
The alternative, he said, was for another judge or a bench of judges that did not include him to preside.
Outside the courtroom, Mr Laimo’s counsel, Ben Lomai said this was the first time that the “slip rule” was being referred to.
He said if their application was successful, it would set a precedent.
He said he was happy with the way the Chief Justice was handling the matter as it allowed Mr Laimo to continue to exercise his democratic right, using the legal process.
Mr Lomai explained that the Supreme Court Election Petition Rules defined a final order as a certain proceeding that had come to an end.
In his instance, he said Justice Ambeng Kandakasi’s decision to nullify Mr Laimo’s election and to order a recount which subsequently declared Steven Pirika Kamma as the duly-elected MP was the final decision.
“However, using the ‘slip rule’, Mr Laimo could have his case heard again,” he said.