Pala’s appeal over arrest warrant set for hearing

The National, Friday July 8th, 2016

A Supreme Court appeal filed by Attorney-General Ano Pala challenging the legality of his arrest warrant issued by a district court in 2014 has been set for hearing later this month.
Justice Ellenas Batari, Justice Don Sawong and Justice Terence Higgins granted an application by Pala’s lawyer Ralph Saulep to vacate the hearing date yesterday.
The court informed Saulep to ask another lawyer to represent Pala at the appeal on July 19 because he (Saulep) was implicated in the allegations against Pala.
The arrest warrant against Pala was issued by Magistrate Cosmas Bidar in Waigani on a charge of conspiring to defeat the course of justice.
Detective Chief Superintendent Mathew Damaru applied for the arrest warrant on July 10, 2014.
Saulep informed the court that Pala was arrested on Oct 30 last year after he filed a judicial review application seeking the court to review Bidar’s decision to issue the arrest warrant.
The judicial review application  was heard between July 30 and Aug 10.
The national court, presided by Justice Collin Makail, rejected it.
Pala filed the appeal to review the decision of the national court which refused the judicial review application.
The court yesterday found that there were two warrants issued for Pala’s arrest on the same charge.
Justice Batari said the arrest warrants were not brought before the judicial review proceeding.
The court found that the first arrest warrant was issued on July 10, 2014. The second warrant was issued the next day by the same magistrate (Bidar).
Saulep told the court that the judicial review application was filed before the arrest warrant was executed on Oct 30 last year.
Saulep said Pala was only aware of the first arrest warrant which caused him to file the application for the judicial review on July 30 last year.