Lawyer guilty of contempt over client’s love problems

National, Normal


A LOVE affair between an expatriate couple that started in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates in June 2005 has landed a Papua New Guinea lawyer in trouble in a local  court.
Acting National Court judge Justice Nemo Yalo referred Koeya Peri of Warner Shand Lawyers in Mt Hagen to the PNG Law Society, while the law firm itself has been ordered to pay K2,500 of his K3,000 fine for contempt of court.
The ruling last Oct 30 at the National Court in Mt Hagen stemmed from contempt of court proceedings filed by the woman, Luchya Mussa Tikuye, of Ethiopia, against Patrick Haines, a British national.
The court heard that the couple met in Abu Dhabi and within three months of their meeting, Haines proposed her marriage.
Ms Tikuye left her job in Abu Dhabi, last May and moved to stay with Mr Haines in Dubai when he transferred there.
In May 2007, Haines changed jobs and had to move to PNG in August of the same year.
He then made all necessary arrangement for Ms Tikuye to leave her job in Dubai and move to PNG and live with him as his spouse.
Mr Haines applied and obtained residential visas for Ms Tikuye, but she was not able to seek any employment in PNG.
Mr Haines reportedly promised to take care of all her living expenses and send money to her relatives back home in Ethiopia.
However, things did not turn out well for Ms Tikuye as promised by Mr Haines and she told the court that Mr Haines mistreated her until they separated.
She said Mr Haines did not provide the financial support for her as promised and she was subjected to continuous threats, harassment and intimidation by a third person called “Mary”.
The court heard that sometime later, Ms Tikuye felt sick and a medical examination revealed she had contracted gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted infection.
She said their relationship deteriorated further and she moved out of the flat to stay with some friends. She filed court proceedings last Nov 10 to seek redress and justice, including financial support from Mr Haines in the hope of returning to her family in Ethiopia.
Pending the substantive proceedings, she also obtained a Mareva injunction or interim restraining orders against Mr Haines.
The orders include restraining Mr Haines from sending money out of PNG and that he open up a bank account for Ms Tikuye and deposit half of his net income.
The matter was returnable to court last Dec 5 but when Mr Haines failed to comply with the orders, Ms Tikuye through her lawyer filed contempt proceedings against Mr Haines last Dec 23.
Justice Yalo said while he found Mr Haines guilty of disobeying some of the court’s orders, he had used his discretion not to imprison him although he deserved such punishment.
Instead, Justice Yalo said part of Mr Haines breaching the orders was not of his making but that of his counsel, Mr Peri.
He said the counsel had failed Mr Haines in bringing relevant documents to court as compelled, therefore, he ordered that Mr Peri’s employer, Warner Shand Lawyers, pay K2,500 of the K3,000 court fine for contempt.
Justice Yalo also ordered that Mr Peri be referred to the PNG Law Society for investigation and appropriate disciplinary action for contributing to and facilitating Mr Haines disobeying the court orders.