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Vanuatu caretaker Prime Minister, Charlot Salwai and four other former Members of Parliament (MPs) are lodging a Constitutional Application to seek orders against former Leader of Opposition, Ishmael Kalsakau, in the Supreme Court.
The Constitutional Application has Salwai as the First Applicant, Matai Seremaiah as the Second Applicant (represented by Ridgeway Blake Lawyers), Simeon Seule as the third applicant, Jerome Ludvaune as the Fifth Applicant (Ferrieux Patterson Lawyers is acting for the First, Third and Fifth Applicants) and Kalsakau as the First and only Respondent.
The applicants are reportedly seeking several orders, one of which is that Kalsakau including his agents, workers, families, friends and political affiliates are restrained from publishing any matters or issues arising out of, in relation to or in connection with Criminal Case OPP20/002.
They are also reportedly seeking an order that all publications by the Respondent on Facebook, pertaining to the criminal case against the applicants be removed forthwith (i.e. permanently deleted) by the respondent.
It is understood the applicants are also seeking an order that Kalsakau as Respondent, including his agents, workers, families and political affiliates are restrained from using, disclosing, disseminating or sharing of any information, report or material related to, arising out of, and in connection with the criminal proceedings before the court in the criminal case, through (including and not limited to) any form of media, social networks, (both via the internet or other mode), through word of mouth, or such other communication or representation; done for whatever purposes and in particular for political campaigns which to a reasonable person insinuates connection to the criminal case; including any suggestive material involving the applications which is related, arising out of an in connection with the Criminal Case until the final determination of the criminal case.
Two sworn statements have reportedly been lodged yesterday, one by the Public Relations Officer of the caretaker Government, Hilaire Bule, which includes Facebook posts and comments relating to the matter.
The Constitutional Application will be heard in the Supreme Court today.
Meanwhile, the five former MPs currently facing court as defendants have been granted a variation of bail order, allowing them to travel out of Efate.
This came about after the Supreme Court granted a variation on the bail orders issued on Tuesday by the Magistrates Court yesterday.
The orders from the Supreme Court has amend the orders given by Acting Chief Magistrate, Anna Laloyer.
In his order, Judge Dudley Aru has waived the first point on the bail order issued by the Magistrates Court but has upheld all others, including that the defendants shall not interfere with prosecution witnesses, the defendants shall not reoffend while under bail and they will have to be in the Magistrates Court on 17th March for the hearing.
During the session in the Magistrates Court on Tuesday, lawyer Nigel Morrison, who represents the caretaker Minister of Agriculture, Matai Seremaiah had raised concerns that the defendants still hold very important positions in the government and are also political leaders who will be taking part of the electoral campaigns for the upcoming election.
According to the caretaker minister for Agriculture, the defendants are happy with the variation of the bail order as they will be able to travel out of Efate to participate in political campaigns. “Our only concern now is the fact that we have to ensure to be in Port Vila by 17 March, and the issue now is there maybe flight disruptions that can disturb the traveling back to Efate,” he said.
The Government’s Public Relations Officer, Hilaire Bule, said the defendants are also looking at making a new application to seek the assistance of the court that the issue must not be used as a political tool for political campaigns and to stop posts on social media about the issue.
SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST/PACNEWS
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