3 Dec 2015

Vanuatu president told to find lawyer for challenge hearing

8:21 pm on 3 December 2015

The president of Vanuatu, Father Baldwin Lonsdale, has caused a delay in a court hearing of the constitutional challenge to his decision to dissolve parliament.

Late this afternoon Justice Dudley Aru was forced to adjourn the conference of the lawyers because Father Lonsdale had failed to find a lawyer, but earlier today the president had also failed to turn up at the court.

On the second occasion the president's principal private secretary, John Sovan, sought more time for Fr Lonsdale to find a private lawyer.

Vanuatu President, Baldwin Lonsdale.

Vanuatu President, Baldwin Lonsdale. Photo: AFP

But Justice Aru told Mr Sovan that there are plenty of lawyers in Port Vila and the president must find one before 2pm Friday afternoon.

Justice Aru told the secretary the case is serious and the head of state needs legal representation in court.

He says if President Lonsdale is not ready tomorrow afternoon the proper conference of lawyers will still go head.

24 former opposition MPs are challenging the dissolution of parliament decision, announced by the president early last week.

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  • Parliament dissolution adds to Vanuatu's woes
  • Vanuatu parliament dissolved, snap election called