By PHILIP KEPSON
A NATIONAL Court judge has expressed concern that young and inexperienced people are seeking to become local level government ward councillors and village court officials.
Justice Nemo Yalo said these included people in “my own place Erave in Southern Highlands”.
“I would advise them to wait until they get some grey hair before they take up these challenges,” he told a gathering in Enga on Tuesday.
He said although there was no law stopping young people from holding such positions, they must have a good understanding of customary practices and laws.
He said the village court was set up under the Constitution as the fourth court system after the Supreme, National and District courts with the understanding that experienced, mature, and highly-respected village leaders would be involved in settling disputes using customary ways at the village level.
Justice Yalo said the court system was for everyone in the country to make use of and no one should think that higher courts were for big people only.
He bemoaned the people’s lack of understanding of the procedures involved in getting their problems and grievances addressed by the court.
“That is one of the reasons we are coming out of the court house to inform you about how you can go about seeking justice in the courts,” he told the gathering.
He added that he had always been reluctant to throw cases out merely on procedural defects, choosing instead to help the people correct the defects and set out their cases properly.
Justice Yalo also urged village court officials not to accept bribes as they required the respect of the community in order to perform their duties effectively.
“If you start accepting bribes, people will not respect you and they will withdraw their trust and confidence in you as leaders or judges,” he said.
Justice Yalo is visiting various parts of the province, including Wapenamanda, Wabag, and Lagaip-Porgera, to educate the people on the country’s judicial system.
He leaves Enga to take up residency in Lae, Morobe province, next year.