18 May 2005

PNG judicial authorities highlight court's independence after Australian comment

7:21 pm on 18 May 2005

Judicial authorities in Papua New Guinea say last week's Supreme Court decision to lift immunity of Australian police shows the independence of the judicial system.

The acting Attorney-General and Justice Secretary, Fred Tomo, says the PNG judiciary is independent, therefore any suggestion the decision was 'pay back' for a security row is incorrect.

The Australian opposition suggested the court ruling was linked to a secuity check in Brisbane where the PNG prime minister was made to remove his shoes.

Mr Tomo says the suggestion has no legal basis, and should not be used to try to discredit the judiciary.

He also says the Enchanced Co-operation Programme was jointly negotiated by PNG and Australia, dismissing Australian suggestions that their country was not intimately involved.

The acting Attorney-General says talks in Australia about amending the Constitution to accommodate the ECP are premature and not helpful.