23 Mar 2012

PNG's Police Commissioner charged with contempt of court

11:19 am on 23 March 2012

Papua New Guinea's Police Commissioner has been charged with contempt of court.

Tom Kulunga, who was appointed police commissioner by Prime Minister Peter O'Neill, was charged with six counts of contempt by a five-man Supreme Court bench for failing to carry out a series of court orders in a timely manner.

Those orders included the arrest last November of Deputy Prime Minister Belden Namah and Attorney General Dr Allan Marat on contempt charges after they tried to suspend the chief justice.

Mr Namah and Dr Marat were in East New Britain province at the time and it took police three days to arrest them.

Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia briefly adjourned the matter on Thursday, ordering that an armed police presence be removed from the court grounds.

Mr Kulunga's lawyer had argued that there had been a death threat against the commissioner but Sir Salamo ordered them to come no closer that 500m from the court.

Mr Kulunga was charged along with his assistant commissioner Simon Kauba and superintendent David Manning.

They have been released on bail to appear again on May the 7th.