Opa election appeal wins as judges make rules clear


The calculation of the 14 days required to serve an election petition starts one day after the filing of an election petition, according to the Supreme Court.
Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia, Justice Nicholas Kirriwom and Justice Derek Hartshorn found this and remitted the election petition of applicant Thomas Opa back to the National Court for trial.
Opa, a candidate in the general election, had filed an election petition on Sept 1, challenging the win by MP Richard Mendani  for the Kerema open seat.
On Oct 11, the National Court dismissed Opa’s petition on the basis that it was served to the respondents on Sept 15 which was in breach of the 14 days required for an applicant to serve a petition.
But Opa, through his lawyer from Justin Talopa, filed an appeal in the Supreme Court on the grounds that the lower court had erred in its decision to dismiss the petition.
Talopa argued that the computation of the 14 days started one day after the date of filing the election petition.
The Supreme Court further heard the review on Nov 2 and ruled in favour of Opa, with orders, among others, that time computation started a day after the petitions were filed and not on the day documents were filed.