First PNG Woman Judge Passes Away

56-year-old judge from Dorom village, Rigo, Central Province, who was born in Wau, Morobe Province, was also a PNG international soccer representative

By Gorethy Kenneth

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, November 7, 2016) – Papua New Guinea has lost its first national woman judge and international soccer star.

Judge Catherine Davani succumbed to breast cancer and passed away peacefully at Brisbane’s Mater Hospital last Friday afternoon in the presence of her husband John and family members who had flown to Brisbane to be with her.

The 56-year-old judge from Dorom village, Rigo, Central Province, who was born in Wau, Morobe Province, was also a PNG international soccer representative, and her three sons followed suit to represent PNG in soccer.

Having practised law since graduation from Legal Training Institute in 1984 she joined the Public Solicitor’s Office before taking a two-year break for studies in Sydney, Australia, in 1987-1988.

In 1989 she joined the Namaliu & Co. Lawyers, Port Moresby, and left in 1990 to join Gadens Ridgeway Lawyers from 1991-1994.

She then joined as a senior associate from 1994 to 2000 for Shepherds Lawyers and after a year joined Blake Dawson Waldron Lawyers as senior associate until 2001 when she was appointed the first PNG-born woman judge.

She was affiliated to a many professional bodies prior to her appointment as a judge, one of them the PNG representative to LAW ASIA Family Law Council and joined judicial committees and inquiries to name a few.

Judge Davani was also big on sports, her participation on soccer was immensely popular as she extensively played both at club level, nationally and internationally.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was quick to extend the sympathies and condolences of the nation to the family of Justice Davani following her passing. “It is with sadness that I have learned of the passing of Justice Catherine Davani in Brisbane yesterday,” the Prime Minister said. “On behalf of the nation I thank Justice Davani for her esteemed service to ensuring the rule of law in Papua New Guinea.

“May her husband, John, and her family take solace in the sympathies of the nation, and our gratitude for the example she set, particularly for the empowerment of women.

“Justice Davani had the proud distinction of being Papua New Guinea’s first female judge when she was appointed in March, 2001.

“Girls all around the nation can look to the example she set and aspire to break through barriers and be everything they want to be in their careers.”

Justice Davani had battled cancer for more than a year until her passing at 3.52pm last Friday.

PNG Post-Courier
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