12 Sep 2007

PNG PM's application for nullification of Moti report rejected

7:58 pm on 12 September 2007

The Papua new Guinea National Court has rejected applications by the Prime Minister to have the defence force inquiry into Australian lawyer Julian Moti's escape from PNG declared null and void.

The National Court judge, Justice Bernard Sakora, has likened Sir Michael Somare's suppression of the inquiry report into the Julian Moti affair to America's Watergate scandal.

Justice Sakora also accused lawyers acting for Sir Michael, as well as senior government and defence officials, of abusing the processes of the court in bringing their applications.

The report examined Julian Moti's escape to the Solomon Islands on a PNG military flight last October, when he was wanted for extradition to Australia.

Our correspondent Alex Rheeney says that the Judge made the ruling because Sir Michael's lawyers failed to give him a copy of the report, which they said was lost in the Prime Minister's residence.

"He actually made please several times during the proceedings over the last two weeks for a copy of the report to ber table and it never had been. So he said that was totally amazed that they were not able to table the report and the court couldn't proceed with the review without that report being put before it."

Leaked copies of the report, which recommended Sir Michael and other top officials be charged for ordering and organising the escape, have already been circulated and published on the internet.