Petitioners struggle to serve court papers

National, Normal

Then National, Tuesday 11th September, 2012

ELECTION petitioners for the 2012 general election are facing difficulties serving documents to their respondents.
With time running out, most have been running back to the court to seek alternate approved means.
Yesterday, seven urgent applications were dealt with by the election petition judge administrator, Colin Makail, and most applications sought orders to extend time.
But most applications did not satisfy Makail with clear evidence that attempts had been made by petitioners to serve files.
“You need to satisfy me that the petitioner had tried his best to serve documents,” Makail told the lawyer for Leonard Louma.
Louma is challenging the win by Douglas Tomiriesa for the Kiriwina-Goodenough seat.
Makail will today make a ruling on another application by former Koroba-Lake Kopiago MP John Kekeno, who is challenging the win by Philip Undiali.
Last Thursday, Makail granted orders that Kekeno could publish the election petition documents for three days in the two daily newspapers.
Kekeno had gone back to court yesterday, telling the court that “he was incapable of meeting the cost”, which stood at K175,379.
Makail has allowed Jimmy Maladina, who is challenging the win by Charles Abel for Alotau Open, to publish documents in the newspapers.
Maladina’s lawyer, Christine Copland told the court that several attempts to serve Abel the documents were not accepted as an approved form of service even at Vulupindi House through Abel’s secretary.
Makail reminded lawyers and petitioners that they had to bring matters before the court with evidence if they needed an extension of time.
“You need to give me the specifics, not generalisations,” he said.
“The onus is on you to satisfy the court.”
Makail said it was incumbent on the petitioners and lawyers to take matters seriously.
“Petitions are not to be taken lightly care must be exercised to pursuing the matter,” Makail said.
 “If that evidence is missing, it can be fatal to the petition.
“The matter can be struck out.
“Rules on evidence must be observed in order to be fair on both sides,” Makail said.