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An appeal filed by the Office of the Public Prosecutor seeking to review a National Court decision that lifted the suspension of Papua New Guinea opposition leader Belden Namah in July has forced a case filed by Namah, seeking to question the legality of James Marape’s election as Prime Minister to drag on.
A five-man Supreme Court bench that comprised Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika, his deputy Ambeng Kandakasi and judges Ellenas Batari, Nicholas Kirriwom and David Cannings, Monday upheld submissions by Marape’s lawyer, McRonald Nale, who told the court that: “Although Namah had standing as the opposition leader and as a member of Parliament, to proceed with his application questioning the legality of Marape’s election as PM, an appeal on the National Court decision that lifted Namah’s suspension was still on foot and still needed to be dealt with, before his application could be heard.”
Sir Gibbs also said the outcome of the Public Prosecutor’s appeal will also determine whether Namah’s current standing remains or is disqualified if the court finds Justice Canning’s erred in his decision in lifting Namah’s suspension.
The grounds of the appeal filed by the public prosecutor through lawyer Gibson Geroro, currently pending a hearing that the trial judge erred when he quashed Namah’s leadership tribunal decision that dismissed him from office, without imposing an appropriate penalty, should have been a remedy available.
The appeal on Namah’s suspension being lift was ordered by the bench to appear before a listings court on 03 November.
Sir Gibbs, in a ruling on submissions by Namah’s lawyer Greg Sheppard, who was seeking to have his client’s substantive matter proceed to a hearing, said the appellant in the case concerning Namah’s suspension lifted (case styled SCM 16 of 2020) was not in court, however, the respondents were and wanted the matter to be dealt with as soon as possible.
“SCM 16 of 2020 will return next Tuesday in the direction stage, so that there’s no unnecessary delays.
“Otherwise there are other alternatives available, such as dismissing it for want of prosecution, as the case is of public interest.
“I realise Justice Cannings made the decision to lift Namah’s suspension in July, but it still has not hit my desk,” Sir Gibbs said.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
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