Magistrate cleared

National, Normal

The National –Wednesday, January 5, 2011


A SENIOR district court magistrate, who was charged and convicted for judicial corruption seven years ago, had his conviction quashed by the Waigani Supreme Court recently. 

Rakatani Mataio, from Porebada village, Central, was sentenced to six years in jail on Aug 6, 2004, by the Waigani National Court after the court found him guilty of receiving bribes from a complainant while serving as a magistrate. 

According to court documents, Mataio was alleged to have received monies from the complainant on numerous occasions when presiding over the complainant’s case. 

Mataio, while serving his sentence, appealed to the Supreme Court to review the decision of the National Court.

The Supreme Court on Sept 3, 2010, ruled in favour of Mataio and quashed the National Court decision that had him convicted.

Mataio, who is married with six children, served as a magistrate for 26 years in the Magisterial Services before he was convicted in 2004.

During Mataio’s Supreme Court appeal, the Magisterial Services dismissed his employment.

Meanwhile, after his recent court victory, Mataio told The National that his dismissal from work by the Magisterial Services was not proper as because it was  effected when the matter was still pending in court. 

He said the Magisterial Services took the National Court decision as final and dismissed him from work, which he said was not proper according to the public service laws. 

Mataio said he had enquired with the Magisterial Services for his reinstatement on numerous occasions but had received no response.

He raised concern that the highest court of the land had cleared his charges and found him not guilty and therefore, was seeking reinstatement. 

“The truth has prevailed and the Magisterial Services must show justice to me as I have suffered enough,” Mataio said, adding that one of the pillars of law was that “Justice must not be done, but must be seen to be done.” 

He said he had loyally served the Magisterial Services as a magistrate for more than 20 years. 

“The Magisterial Services must at least consider the fact that the allegations against me was cleared by the highest court and must reinstatement me as I have suffered for too long with my family,” Mataio said.  

He said he was assisted financially by friends and Kariku Hiri MP Paru Aihi during his trial.

Attempts to get comments from the Magisterial Services yesterday were unsuccessful.