Court supremacy

ACTING Prime Minister Belden Namah and Attorney-General Dr Allan Marat were arrested and released on bail yesterday on contempt charges over their recent involvement in a National Executive Council move to suspend Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia.
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Critics of last week's NEC decision believe the move was politically motivated as the East Sepik provincial government's Supreme Court challenge over the legitimacy of the O'Neill government inches closer to an outcome.

A five-judge panel led by Injia is expected to rule on December 9 to determine whether the early August parliament vote to end Sir Michael Somare's reign as prime minister was constitutional.

Both Namah and Marat are expected to appear in court over their contempt charges on December 12.

Another bail condition was that they "and their agents/servants, or their principal, shall not interfere with court deliberations on the decision on the East Sepik provincial executives' special reference set for December 9" according to The National this morning.

Lawyer Manuel Varitimos - who represented Namah in the Waigani courthouse yesterday - reportedly broke down while apologising to Injia over the manner in which the NEC treated him.

The NEC reportedly rescinded its decision to suspend the chief justice after holding an urgent meeting on Monday afternoon.

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