PM’s lawyers to ask court to dismiss Sunday polling reference

Lawyers for the Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, have indicated in court they will be filing an application to ask the Supreme Court to dismiss a reference currently before it.

This reference was filed on July 10 by Runner-up in the Ialibu-Pangia seat, Stanley Liria, questioning the legality of polling that was conducted on Sunday in the electorate.

The reference returned for directions hearing today before Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia. This case is now posted on the fast track list of Supreme Court cases.

Mal Varitimos who is assisted by Tiffany Twivey-Nongor for the Prime Minister, indicated they will be filing an application that will ask the court to dismiss the case.

Varitimos said the reference was an abuse of process that was initially filed, seeking interim orders to stop voting in the Ialibu-Pangia electorate.  

Polling in the Ialibu-Pangia electorate was conducted on Sunday, July 2, after it was deferred from Friday, June 30.

The high court has been asked to interpret section 130 of the Organic Law on National and Local Level Government elections.

But before the court can interpret the questions of law put before it, it will hear that application which will be filed by the Prime Minister’s lawyers.

The full court will also hear arguments if Liria has legal right (standing) to bring such reference in court, before the actual hearing of the constitutional questions surrounding Sunday polling can be determined by the court.

Sir Salamo gave parties in the case 32 days from today, to file and serve their relevant statements in the case, their responding statements, including the application by 14 September.

The case returns on 15 September for further directions.

Parties in the case are; the applicant- Stanley Liria, the Electoral Commissioner, State, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and another losing candidate who also contesting the same seat, Justus Nambi Rapula.

Liria’s lawyer, Greg Egan who is assisted by Dudley Yariyari told the court this morning that the case is of national importance and the reference must be dealt with quickly.

Sally Pokiton