Sir Gibbs slams lawyer for missing court

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A SENIOR judge has reprimanded a lawyer for failing to attend court but instead sent a client to say he was sick although no medical certificate was provided.
Deputy Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika, pictured, said lawyer Justine Talopa, of Talopa Lawyers, was supposed to be in court yesterday to represent Richmond Yauka in a criminal matter.
He told Yauka to go and find Talopa and come back with him to court or else a bench warrant would be issued for both of them to be arrested for contempt.
Yauka told the National Court in Waigani that Talopa had informed him that he was sick and could not attend court.
Justice Sir Gibbs said: “You cannot just come to court without a medical certificate from your lawyer and tell the court on his behalf that he is sick.
“Talopa was not present last Monday and he again is absent today.
“Something is wrong somewhere. So go to his office and ask him for his medical certificate.”
Justice Sir Gibbs said he even tried calling Talopa’s office last week “but he did not answer”.
He said some private lawyers, although they did not have the capacity to handle criminal cases, were taking money from ordinary Papua New Guineans and using all sorts of excuses to delay their cases.
“Some, when they come into the courtroom, do not even know where the witness box is, neither the accused box.”
Yauka when asked if he had paid Talopa any legal fees told the court he had paid half the amount required.
Sir Gibbs advised Yauka to talk to lawyer Edward Sasingian from the Public Solicitor’s Office.