Lawyer criticises NEC’s defiance of CJ stay order

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday 08th Febuary 2012

A LAWYER has condemned the decision by the National Executive Council to go against a stay order from the Supreme Court by denying Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia access to his office last Friday.
Paul Harricknen said such action was very dangerous in a country governed by a constitution and the rule of law.
“Action by the NEC to use police to prevent the chief justice from entering his office to perform his duty when there is an order by the Supreme Court staying the NEC decision to suspend him is not in line with the rule of law as many of us would understand,’’ he said.
“A court order is a court order that cannot be undermined or disobeyed, not even by the NEC.”
He said if there were any disagreements, then they should be taken up to the Supreme Court which granted the orders.
“The NEC cannot resort to the use of force to disobey a court order,” he said.
“It is a very bad and dangerous precedent. PNG is a constitutional democracy governed by the rule of law.
“The political leaders who caused this crisis must quickly put an end to this nonsense fight for power and privileges.
“The fight only amounts to an abuse of the people’s power vested in those leaders. The people have exercised lot of restrain in the recent past already. The crisis must not be prolonged.”
Harricknen raised these concerns following the ongoing political impasse in the country.
“The court order should always take precedence over any other decision, including NEC decisions and decisions by parliament. If one does not agree, they will have to go back to the same court or to a higher court on appeal to challenge that decision.
“The court’s primary function is to interpret the law and to apply or enforce the law. The police and the correctional service come in to help enforce the law as interpreted and ordered by the court.”