By GEEJAY MILLI
THE Waigani National Court last Friday revoked the University of Papua New Guinea’s 2007 decision to suspend a student for four years for fighting.
The court heard that Peter Kama started his studies as an accountancy student at the university in 2007, then on Aug 26, he assaulted a fellow student whom he alleged stole his laptop.
The disciplinary committee found him guilty and slapped him with a K100 fine and two-semester suspension, placing him on good behaviour bond for the remaining time of his studies.
His appeal against the punishment was dismissed by the council which enhanced the penalty to a four-year suspension.
Mr Kama then sought a judicial review against the council’s decision on the grounds that the council failed to give sufficient reasons for its decision; and that the decision was unreasonable.
Justice David Cannings ruled the council had failed in its duty to give good, proper and sufficient reasons and that a letter by the council to Mr Kama contained no reference to the grounds of his appeal.
The judge also found that the letter also did not indicate that those grounds had been considered and also no justification for enhancing the penalty.
Justice Cannings said the council failed to take into account a number of mitigating factors relevant to making a decision, including Mr Kama being a first-time offender, the lack of medical evidence and the provocation provided by the theft of the laptop.
Further, Justice Cannings ruled the council took aggravating factors into account of which there was no evidence or relevance, like Mr Kama being the child of a leader, that his conduct was an instance of ethnic culture.
He ordered that the application for judicial review be granted, that the decision of the council conveyed by the letter that dismiss the appeal and support the disciplinary committee’s action be declared null and void and quashed.
The judge also ordered that the disciplinary committee’s punishment be dismissed and Mr Kama be reinstated as a student and costs of the court proceedings to be paid by the university to the plaintiff on a party-part basis or be taxed if not agreed.