4 Apr 2012

PNG supreme court rules today on CJ sitting on constitutional hearings

7:35 am on 4 April 2012

The Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea is expected to rule this morning on whether the Chief Justice should remove himself from constitutional hearings on the legitimacy of the government, amid allegations of a conflict of interest.

Lawyers for the government of Peter O'Neill have moved to have Sir Salamo Injia recuse himself from overseeing the hearings, arguing the Chief Justice would indirectly benefit from finding against the government.

Since controversially taking office last August, the government has tried repeatedly to suspend Sir Salamo - citing conflicts of interest and a police investigation into his handling of court finances.

The court has repeatedly issued stays on his suspension.

Earlier, the government failed in a bid to have another judge, Justice Nicholas Kirriwom, recuse himself from the case.

Justice Kirriwom told the court in Port Moresby yesterday he saw no reason to step down after a memo bearing his signature and calling on judges to band together against attacks from the government was leaked online.