5 Apr 2012

PNG tribunal expected to deal with top judges

7:36 am on 5 April 2012

Papua New Guinea's Governor General is expected to establish a tribunal to look into allegations of misconduct against the Chief Justice, Sir Salamo Injia and another top judge.

On Wednesday, the government had the numbers to pass a parliamentary motion to suspend Sir Salamo and Justice Nicholas Kirriwom for breaches of the Judicial Conduct Act.

That move resulted from the Chief Justice earlier in the day rejecting an application in court to disqualify himself from ongoing Supreme Court references on the government's legitimacy.

Our correspondent, Titi Gabi, says the Judicial Conduct Act has been enacted despite indications by the Prime Minister Peter O'Neill that the law would be deferred for nine months while the Constitutional Law Reform Commission reviewed it.

"What happens now according to the new Act is that the Governor-General will need to appoint a tribunal to look into the claims of misconduct against the two, the Chief Justice and his fellow judge."

Titi Gabi.

The hearing into the constitutional references is reportedly continuing with both Sir Salamo and Justice Kirriwom on the bench.

Meanwhile, the supporters of former Papua New Guinea prime minister Sir Michael Somare failed on Wednesday evening to get an injunction against the controversial Judicial Conduct Bill.