29 Feb 2012

April hearing for PNG goverment legitimacy case

4:06 pm on 29 February 2012

Papua New Guinea's Supreme Court has set April the 2nd as the start date for a new trial on who is the country's legitimate leader, after the judges on Tuesday lambasted lawyers over ongoing delays.

The three-member bench says it will check on the lawyers' progress in filing correct documentation and agreed upon facts on March the 16th.

Before handing down its directions, lawyers for Sir Arnold Amet, who is the attorney general in the Sir Michael Somare government, tried to file additional questions, which Justice Bernard Sakora called an assault on the integrity of the court.

The bench refused to hear arguments for adding the references, with the acting chief Justice Gibbs Salika and Justice Sakora pointing out no documentation had been filed with either the registry or the chief justice's associate.

The government of Peter O'Neill and members of parliament brought the case to the court, asking it to rule on changes to the law it made to legalise the dumping of Sir Michael as prime minister.

Last year, the court heard a similar case brought by supporters of Sir Michael and ruled he had been unconstitutionally removed from office.