Supreme Court dismisses Sevua’s application to quash National Court orders

National, Normal

The National – Thursday, June 30, 2011

THE Waigani Supreme Court yesterday dismissed an application by former National and Supreme Court judge Mark Sevua, who was seeking to quash national court orders denying him leave to apply for a judicial review on a decision that discontinued his term as a judge.
Sevua was seeking to ask the Supreme Court to allow him to apply for a judicial review of a decision of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission made on Sept 28 last year, which effectively discontinued his term as a National and Supreme Court judge, a role he had held since 1993.
But the matter was dismissed yesterday on the basis that Sevua had shown a lack of interest in it when it was set yesterday for parties to make submissions on the substantive issue.
The court found that Sevua had failed to file a proper application for adjournment pursuant to Supreme Court rules.
This was when the counsel representing Sevua, Copland Raurela, told the court that he was told by his client through email yesterday morning to cease acting for him.
Raurela advised the court that he would act as a friend of the court to seek an adjournment.
However, the lawyer from the public solicitor’s office, Wailyo Mapiso, opposed the adjournment.
Mapiso told the court he had given priority to the matter that involved a very senior person and had committed time to preparing his submissions but was advised at the eleventh hour that the lawyer assisting the appellant (Sevua) was instructed to cease acting in the case.
He told the court that Sevua, in his capacity as a former senior judge, should have been aware of court procedures and “cannot issue such instructions at the eleventh hour”.
A three-judge bench comprising Justices Joseph Yagi, Catharine Davani and Don Sawong found that Sevua had failed to issue a notice of hearing to the other party.
The judges made an unanimous decision and ordered that the matter be dismissed and Sevua to pay the costs of the proceeding.