Papua New Guinea
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Attorney-General opposes applicatiion

Attorney-General Pila Niningi has opposed the Supreme Court application by Ialibu-Pangia MP and former Prime Minister Peter O’Neill questioning the legality of the Parliament sitting last August.

The Attorney-General, through his lawyer, Levente Jurth, argued that the application was too general and did not state any facts and evidences.

The submission was made before a full five-man Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Gibbs Salika, Deputy Chief Justice Ambeng Kandakasi, Justice David Cannings, Justice Ere Kariko and Justice Panuel Mogish.

The application by O’Neill was filed under section 18 of the Constitution and seeks to have the Supreme Court interpret various provisions of the Constitution to ascertain whether first Parliament sitting was Constitutional.

The reference also seeks to declare the first parliament sitting and the formation of government as unconstitutional on the grounds that various laws were breached including the sitting date of the first Parliament.

Among the questions of law put forward, O’Neill seek the Supreme Court’s interpretation of various provisions of the Constitution and the Organic Law on the National and Local Level Government Election (OLNLLGE) pertaining to certain decisions made by the Electoral Commissioner and the Governor General.

O’Neill also raise question on s.97(2) of the OLINLLE were elections in electorate when no candidate has been returned elected by August 5, are deemed to have failed.

Also, where a large number of writs that have not been returned, or were unlikely to be returned, and such writs were likely to be given more time, was inconsistent with s.50 of the Constitution.

The Attorney-General, through Jurth, submitted that the application was not of genuine concern for proper interpretation of the Constitution but was filed on an aggrieved fact by the applicant (O’Neill).

It was submitted that the applicant did not participate on the process of electing a Prime Minister but turned his back on the process when he walked out of the chamber of Parliament when the rest of the MPs participated in the process.

It was further submitted that while outside of the Parliament, the applicant (O’Neill) had to rush to the court to challenge the constitutionality of the Parliament sitting.

In that, it was argued that O’Neill’s application was based on personal aggrieved facts and not a genuine concern.