Rival supporters brawl outside court

Main Stories, National

The National, Friday 24th May 2013


POLICE fired teargas to disperse supporters of Jiwaka Governor Dr William Tongamp and his rival former Anglimp-South Waghi MP Jamie Maxtone-Graham during a clash outside the National Court building in Mt Hagen yesterday.

The supporters threw stones at each other for several minutes before police intervened and fired tear gas to scatter the crowd.

Police claimed that two supporters of Maxtone-Graham were stabbed with pocket knives during the brawl, which did not disrupt court proceedings.

The former Anglimp-South Waghi MP, who was a candidate for the Jiwaka regional seat in last year’s national elections, has disputed Tongamp’s victory. 

Maxtone-Graham brought contempt charges against Tongamp, Jiwaka provincial police commander Simon Nigi, Fabian Tumu, Paul Kaman, Michael Kengi, Michael Pole and James Bombie alleging that the contemnors defied or failed to comply with his court order of Sept 12 last year, to protect and safeguard regional ballot papers.

The lawyer for the contemnors said the National Court Rules 1983, under Order 14, Rule 37-50, provided a comprehensive statement of the procedure to be followed in case involving contempt of court.

He said the proceedings for contempt of court were criminal in nature and the court must be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the three elements of the offence have been proven to exist.

He said these were: The order was clear; it was properly served; and there was a deliberate failure to comply.

The lawyer said that plaintiff Maxtone-Graham did not prove these three procedures for the court to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt.

He added that, except for Nigi, the other contemnors were not served with the court order and had no knowledge or were not aware of the terms of the court order.

He said the contemnors were not deliberately defying the court orders as alleged by the plaintiff.

The lawyer for the plaintiff submitted that the contemnors failed to defend the charges.

He added that there was no denial and therefore the contemnors had indirectly admitted to the allegations.

Justice Allan David reserved his decision till June 21.