Parliament was told thatthere are only 27 judges who deal with over ten thousand cases throughout Papua New Guinea
Attorney General and Justice Minister Kerenga Kua revealed this when responding to series of questions bythe Member of Moresby North – East Labi Amaiu.
Amongthe queries, Mr Amaiu wanted an explanation onthe delays inthe Election Petitions andthe safety ofthe petitioners during court cases.
The Election Petition cases were supposed to take only six months but that’s notthe case as Mr Amaiu and ther MP’s have discovered. He questionedthe Minister responsible for the delay. Another issue he raised wasthe safety of petitioners atthe court houses as supporters of candidate’s often carry dangerous weapons.
The Minister responsible toldthe House so far all initial trial stages of all election petitions have been completed but blamed parties becausethey file different applications that causethe delay. He maintainedthere is no need to amendthe rules ofthe Election Petition Cases.
Member for Kabwum Beb Dadae also raisedthe same concerns on whtherthe delays were caused by shortage of judges and magistrates. Withthe recent appointment ofthe five Acting Judges, Mr Dadae querlied how soonthe Committee will appoint permanent ones.
The Attorney General and Justice Minister in his response saidthere are three different tiers of court; National & Supreme, District and Village Courts. In all it takes time asthere are rules in place to protect both parties and verify facts. Therefore,there is a need to increasethe number of Judges and resources for the courts nationwide.
Minister Kua also appealed to petitioners andthe general public to respectthe court proceedings and acceptthe outcome of any court proceedings asthey opted for the courts to decide inthe first instance.
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