The National –Thursday, January 6, 2011
JUSTICE Mark Sevua said yesterday that the offence of contempt of court is increasing in both the National Court and Supreme Court and cannot be tolerated.
Sevua issued this warning at the National Court in Waigani after sentencing a former court interpreter for failure to attend Court for his duties in 2008.
He said the court had a duty to protect its processes from abuses by litigants, lawyers, court staff and members of the public.
Sevua warned other court officials and legal practitioners against contempt of court as the penalty would be severe.
The punishment of six months imprisonment with hard labour served on the former interpreter but then suspended on certain conditions set as precedence for the Court interpreters in Waigani and nationwide.
“The courts must not permit this kind of behaviour to be perpetrated by its own officers. As officers of the court they are there to lend assistance to the courts as and when required,” he said while handing down his decision.
Sevua said people interfering with court processes would be dealt with as it was a serious matter.
“There have been cases of contemnors being imprisoned as well, so this is the message that needs to be brought home to contemnors,” he said.
He added that if people interfered with the administration of justice in cases before the courts, which interference constituted contempt of court, they must be punished.