27 Mar 2014

PNG Govt hearing against head of Manus inquiry adjourned

6:20 am on 27 March 2014

The hearing of the leave application by the Papua New Guinea government against a judge's refusal to disqualify himself from the inquiry into Australia's asylum seeker detention centre on Manus Island has been adjourned to next Monday.

The inquiry, by Justice David Cannings, was halted last Saturday after the government accused Justice Cannings' of being biased against the controversial refugee processing deal between PNG and Australia.

The matter came before Justice Collin Makail of the Supreme Court on Wednesday, but the lawyer acting for the transferees, public solicitor Frazer Pitpit requested the matter be adjourned because they were only served on Tuesday.

It was also revealed in court that Mr Pitpit does not have a practicing certificate and therefore cannot be heard.

The stay on the inquiry has also been extended until the matter returns next Monday.

The State through its lawyers had taken out the temporary stay last Friday pending the hearing of their leave to appeal application against Justice Cannings decision not to remove himself from presiding over the matter.

But after being informed of the stay order, Justice Cannings promptly initiated a new inquiry into whether asylum seekers' human rights are being denied.

He then granted an Australian barrister, Jay Williams, access to the Manus centre to interview detainees he's representing.