23 May 2012

PNG's O'Neill says Supreme court ruling illegal

6:28 am on 23 May 2012

Peter O'Neill say the Supreme Court decision that his parliamentary election as Papua New Guinea's prime minister last August was illegal was invalid because two of the five judges on the panel abstained the ruling.

Monday's ruling, reiterated the court's December decision that Sir Michael Somare is the country's legitimate Prime Minister, throwing new uncertainty over the country's lingering political impasse.

The Somare group was on Tuesday prevented from entering Government House where it hoped to be sworn in as caretaker government.

Peter O'Neill says his group remains the caretaker government as the country approaches elections next month, and that the ruling is not enforceable by law.

"In fact, under the Supreme Court rules, particularly under section 3, we are supposed to establish a new bench as and when members of the judiciary for some reason or other resign from the bench."

Peter O'Neill says parliament will meet for a special sitting today to address the ruling.

Meanwhile, Papua New Guinea's attorney general in the most recent Sir Michael Somare administration, says Peter O'Neill's description of the Court decision as corrupt is mischievous.

Mr O'Neill called it judicial corruption and called a special session of parliament at which he intended to defy the court decision.

But parliament did not sit on Tuesday, apparently because the governor general had not signed off the request for the recall of MPs.

Sir Arnold Amet says Mr O'Neill's behaviour is not what is expected of leaders.

To simply describe our judiciary as being corrupt because a judgement hasn't gone his way is really most inappropriate for a person who holds himself up as a leader and a Prime Minister, our leader.