31 Jan 2012

PNG's Somare camp files contempt charges against O'Neill cabinet

2:58 pm on 31 January 2012

The former Chief Justice and now opposition MP Sir Arnold Amet says he expects the Papua New Guinea courts will give contempt proceedings against the O'Neill government considerable priority and attention.

The rival camp of Sir Michael Somare has filed charges against the Prime Minister Peter O'Neill and his cabinet, accusing them of defying December's Supreme Court ruling that Sir Michael was unlawfully removed from office in August.

Sir Arnold says Sir Michael has taken out the proceedings as the principal aggrieved party.

Sir Arnold says there is weighty punishment if the respondents are found in defiance of the rule of law.

"They will be penalised as criminal offenders against the law of contempt and liable to be in prison and liable to be disqualified from parliament. That is the most serious of sanctions."

Sir Arnold says he has every confidence in the independence and resilience of PNG's judiciary