PNG PM Wins First Round Of Leadership Tribunal Challenge

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O’Neill can amend original summons, add parties to the case

By Adrian Mathias

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Jan. 7, 2015) – Prime Minister Peter O’Neill yesterday won the first round of the court challenge on his referral to the leadership tribunal on allegations of misconduct in office.

The National Court granted Mr O’Neill leave to add members of the leadership tribunal as party to the case and to amend an originating summons he had instituted on November 20 last year against the Public Prosecutor.

In that proceeding, Mr O’Neill sought a declaration that the Public Prosecutor was not entitled to refer the alleged misconduct in office against him to a leadership tribunal.

He also sought a permanent injunction to restrain the Public Prosecutor from referring the matter to such a tribunal.

Also on November 20, 2014, Mr O’Neill filed a notice of motion seeking an interim injunction to restrain the Public Prosecutor from referring the matter to the tribunal and, an order referring a question of constitutional interpretation and application arising from the proposed referral, to the Supreme Court under section 18(2) of the Constitution.

Mr O’Neill stated in his application for leave on Monday that the amendment of the originating summons in the terms he had proposed would facilitate a more expeditious determination of the real questions raised by the proceedings on the constitutionality of the Public Prosecutor’s decisions relating to referral of alleged misconduct in office to the tribunal and the jurisdiction of the tribunal to inquire into that matter and avoid the prospect of multiplicity of proceedings.

Justice David Cannings upheld these submissions by Mr O’Neill and ordered that:

The parties will return to court today at 1.30pm to make submissions on the substantive case.

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