Judiciary condemns police conduct

PAPUA New Guinea’s judiciary has condemned the behaviour of police who made an “unprecedented” arrest of Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia on Tuesday.
Judiciary condemns police conduct Judiciary condemns police conduct Judiciary condemns police conduct Judiciary condemns police conduct Judiciary condemns police conduct

National and Supreme Court judges held a meeting over the matter before making their views public.

According to The National, Deputy Chief Justice Gibbs Salika said Injia was apprehended by armed police after they ordered the judge's car and two accompanying security vehicles to stop on Sir John Guise Drive in Port Moresby.

"After replacing the chief justice's escort policeman in his vehicle with two armed members of the police, the police travelled with the chief justice to his chambers," Salika reportedly said.

"Without any justification or permission, members of the police entered the judges' chambers complex while still armed.

"After waiting for Injia to conduct some business, the police then escorted him down to police headquarters for questioning, again while armed.

"The actions of the police exhibit a complete lack of respect for the office of the chief justice, the judiciary and its independence."

Salika, who is the O'Neill-Namah coalition government's preferred choice to replace Injia, further said the event was unprecedented in PNG.

The judiciary believe it is a breach of the convention that high office holders are given the opportunity to present themselves for police questioning if they are facing charges.

Injia was charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Police suspected Injia illegally redirected funds from the estate of a deceased judge away from his adopted son and to the court.

But the case has already been delayed two months so the prosecution can gather more evidence.

Meanwhile, the PNG newspaper reported that Injia filed an application late yesterday afternoon seeking interim orders to halt court proceedings against him.

A variety of cases over the legitimacy of the O'Neill-Namah government remain before the Supreme Court.

On December 12, the Injia-led Supreme Court found Sir Michael Somare was the rightful prime minister but Peter O'Neill remains the effective PM due to overwhelming numbers in parliament and the various laws it passed to maintain this new government.

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