PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Oct. 22) – Papua New Guinea government lawyers say the New Ireland "gold rush madness" case now before the court is an abuse of process and a waste of time that should be dismissed.

But lawyers acting for New Ireland residents and two foreign companies say they have a genuine case to protect the traditional and constitutional rights and interests of the villagers from the "heavy-handed" tactics of PNG security forces.

The parties made their submissions yesterday before Justice Timothy Hinchliffe, who reserved his ruling for Friday.

Justice Hinchliffe was supposed to hand down a brief decision yesterday on certain issues the parties raised on Monday, but decided not to because he said he felt some of the points required further submissions, particularly on Section 5 of the Claims By and Against the State Act and the issue of security deposit for costs.

"The issue in relation to Section 5 does concern me," lawyer acting for the first defendant (Greg Toope), Camillus Narokobi said as he began his submission. 

Mr Toope is a lawyer who was prevented by the National Court from carrying out any form of business in the "treasure hunt" area.

Mr Narokobi said the State had the overall right to any remains of the war and the whole proceeding was targeted towards that.

State lawyer Paul Kipoi consented to Mr Narokobi’s submissions and said the proceedings should be thrown out because the State was not served any notices as required by Section 5 of the Claim By and Against the State Act.

Both Mr Kipoi and Mr Narokobi told the court the case should also be dismissed because there was no deposit of any security to costs.

Plaintiff’s lawyer Andrew Maipson said there was no proper application before the court that should warrant his friends (the lawyers) to make their application. The plaintiffs are Basoma Holdings Limited, Agriculture Resources Technology Limited and 888 Pacific Limited.

"Procedurally, their application is not made properly before the court," he said, adding his clients had obtained injunctive orders and the proceedings was not about a claim against the State. He said if the orders had aggrieved any party, the concerned party should file proper proceedings in court. Only then such application could be made, Mr Maipson said.

October 23, 2003

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