Run-around in the court rooms

Main Stories, National

The National – Tuesday, December 14, 2010

ACTING Public Prosecutor Jim Wala Tamate called a press conference yesterday to confirm that he had served a letter of advice to Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia at 4.08pm to appoint a tribunal to hear the charges of official misconduct in office against Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare.
He said Sir Michael’s lawyers witnessed the serving of the letter.
Tamate said that should the chief justice appoint the tribunal, it would comprise three judges.
It came after an entire day of waiting for a judge to hear an interim injunction application by Posman Kua Aisi Lawyers for the prime minister.
Also waiting were Chief Ombudsman Chronox Manek and lawyers from the Ombudsman Commission.
The injunction attempted to stop the referral until the substantive hearing was heard and decided on. It involved the prime minister seeking declarative orders, claiming that the Ombudsman Commission did not follow prescribed compulsory procedures under the Organic Law when it chose to refer him to the public prosecutor.
The application was made last Friday, however, Justice Salatiel Lenalia was unable to hear the submission and, therefore, adjourned the matter to yesterday for another judge to hear.
Yesterday morning’s court diary stated that the matter was before Justice Ambeng Kandakasi to be heard at 9.30am. However, it was relayed to the lawyers for the parties that the matter was adjourned to 1.30pm.
The small courtroom seven was packed between 1pm and 2.30pm when an associate to the judge entered the chamber and advised that Kandakasi was tied up with other court matters and was unable to hear the matter.
The associate also advised that the matter had to be returned to the registry for another judge’s listing to hear.
But, by 4.06pm, and with no sign of any judge, time caught up and Tamate proceeded to serve the letter to the chief justice via the court registrar.