30 May 2012

Australian call to respect PNG judiciary

11:25 am on 30 May 2012

The Australian Bar Association has called on the government of Papua New Guinea to reaffirm the independence of the nation's judges, after a second Supreme Court justice faced court on charges of sedition.

Justice Nicholas Kirriwom made a brief appearance in committal court yesterday and was read the charges of sedition against him before the hearing was adjourned until late July.

His immediate superior, Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia, was arrested in dramatic fashion on Thursday, when a police unit led by Deputy Prime Minister Belden Namah stormed the court in an attempt to arrest him.

Both Injia and Kirriwom were part of a three-man bench who ruled that Sir Michael Somare was the nation's legitimate PM, and not parliament's choice, Peter O'Neill.

The acting speaker has now accepted the court ruling, but dismissed Sir Michael for missing three sessions this year.