15 Feb 2013

PNG court allows lawyers to visit Australian detention centre on Manus

5:12 am on 15 February 2013

Lawyers challenging the constitutionality of the Australian-run detention centre on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea have been granted court permission to visit the facility and interview detainees.

PNG's court of human rights, a division of the National Court, on Thursday rejected a bid to impose an interim injunction on further transfers until the centre's constitutionality can be determined.

But in refusing part of PNG opposition leader Belden Namah's application for the interim injunction, Justice David Canning has allowed their lawyers to visit and interview detainees.

Mr Namah's lawyer, Loani Henao, says he expects to travel to Manus on the weekend to interview the detainees.

The PNG government has filed a motion to dismiss the proceedings, arguing the National Court does not have the authority to deal with the constitutional questions raised by the case.

The court is expected to resume again on February the 20th to hear the motion to dismiss and seek further directions on future hearings.