7 Mar 2012

PNG's Injia case deferred until May

4:16 pm on 7 March 2012

A committal hearing into corruption allegations against Papua New Guinea's top judge has been adjourned for two months to give the prosecution time to gather evidence.

Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia was arrested on Tuesday after police alleged he had illegally redirected into court coffers about 100,000 US dollars meant for the son of the late Justice, Timothy Hinchliffe.

Police have charged him with trying to pervert the course of justice.

In December, the chief justice presided over the Supreme Court decision that found that the Prime Minister Peter O'Neill and his supporters did not follow due constitutional process when they dumped the former prime minister Sir Michael Somare from the top job.

The government made numerous attempts to remove him from the case, citing a conflict of interest.

In February, Mr O'Neill announced Sir Salamo was suspended from active duty, pending an investigation by a tribunal of former judges into his handling of court funds.

An attempt in November to suspend him on the same charges led to brief spells in jail on contempt charges for the deputy prime minister Belden Namah and the attorney general Dr Allan Marat.