Tearful counsel says sorry to chief justice

Main Stories, National

The National, Wednesday 16th November 2011

SIGNS of distress were evident in the Waigani courthouse when lawyer Manuel Varitimos, representing acting Prime Minister Belden Namah, broke down while apologising to Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia for the way the National Executive Council had treated him.
The NEC last Thursday suspended Sir Salamo on allegations of misconduct.
However on Friday, Supreme Court judge Justice Bernard Sakora ordered the suspension be stayed and for Namah and Attorney-General Dr Allan Marat to be arrested for contempt of court.
On Monday, Namah and Marat were arrested by police.
That evening, straight after Namah and Marat were released on own recognisance bail, they convened a NEC meeting which decided to lift the suspension.
It was understood that although the NEC had decided to have Sir Salamo reinstated this week, the Supreme Court’s order to have him reinstated was already in place from last Friday.
It was unclear as to why Varitimos broke down in front of the full bench.
It was not known if the allegations made against the chief justice by cabinet would be pursued further.
The National Executive Council said the reason for withdrawing the decision to suspend Sir Salamo was because of national interest and national security.
Namah and Marat are out on K5,000 bail each.