Court decision on Manus detention centre services due

9:48 pm on 6 November 2017

A lawyer representing refugees on Papua New Guinea's Manus Island says the PNG supreme court will decide tomorrow whether to order the restoration of vital services to the detention centre.

The 98th daily protest in the centre, 6-11-17.

The 98th daily protest in the centre, 6-11-17. Photo: supplied

The centre was closed last Tuesday, but about 600 refugees detained there by Australia are refusing to leave.

Ben Lomai waits outside the Supreme Court Registry for his case to be called.

Ben Lomai waits outside the Supreme Court Registry for his case to be called. Photo: Facebook / Ben Lomai

Lawyers have applied to the court for the immediate restoration of the necessities of life to the centre, for there to be no forcible transfer of refugees to the transit centres in Lorengau and for PNG to facilitate the transfer of the refugees to Australia or a third country.

The lawyer Ben Lomai said he argued in court today that terminating water, power and food services was in breach of the refugees' constitutional rights.

He said lawyers representing the PNG government submitted that restoring the services would be difficult.

"These services were provided by the Australian government. The chief justice raised this issue on who is legally responsible for the detainees now?" said Mr Lomai.

"We say PNG is solely responsible to provide those services to detainees."

Dr Lomai said the chief justice would issue his decision on Tuesday morning as to whether the matter would proceed to trial.

If the trial was ordered, Dr Lomai said the judge was also expected to order the services to resume.

However, the PNG immigration minister Petrus Thomas said in a statement it would be impossible to re-establish the services.

"I want to be very clear that there is no capacity to restore services, there is no service provider to deliver services and... as services are available at the new facilities there is no need for services to be reconnected."

A refugee during the 98th day of protest, 6-11-17.

A refugee during the 98th day of protest, 6-11-17. Photo: supplied

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