Paraka fails to stop trial

Main Stories

THE Waigani National Court has rejected lawyer Paul Paraka’s application to stop the public prosecutor from sending him to stand trial on an alleged misappropriation case involving nearly K162.8million in State money.
Justice David Cannings declined Paraka’s application for enforcement of human rights and right to full protection of the law, where he argued that his case had been dismissed by the Waigani Committal Court and he could not be prosecuted again.
Paraka has been charged with 17 counts of conspiracy to defraud, five counts of stealing by false pretence and five counts of money laundering.
The charges relate to payments made to his law firm for legal services provided to the government between 2007 and 2013 which turned into a legal battle that spanned more than five years.
Committal proceedings started at the Waigani Committal Court on July 31, 2014, and continued until Dec 10 last year when Magistrate Mekeo Gauli struck out the charges for an abuse of process and discharged Paraka.
Early this year, Public Prosecutor Pondros Kaluwin issued an ex officio indictment under Section 526 of the Criminal Code Act (allows for public prosecutor to prosecute an accused after a district court had dismissed the charges), based on evidence relied on by police in the committal proceedings and served it on Paraka to prosecute him.
The indictment contains one count of misappropriation of nearly K162.8 million State money.
Paraka applied for enforcement of human rights seeking to restrain Kaluwin from prosecuting him.
He argued that issuing the ex-officio indictment was an infringement of his right under Section 37(1) of the Constitution and that Kaluwin did not fully satisfy the preconditions to exercise his power as the public prosecutor under Section 526 of the Criminal Code Act.
Cannings ruled that the public prosecutor did not act unlawfully and there was no actual or probable infringement of Paraka’s right to full protection of the law.
Cannings rejected Paraka’s application, dismissed the proceedings and ordered costs paid by Paraka.