Totem Case Dismissed

Justice Jack Kariko today dismissed the case by Grand Chief, Sir Michael Somare against Speaker of Parliament Theo Zurenuoc, on the removal of traditional artifacts from the Parliament house early this year.

The dismissal of the case came about after Sir Michael Somare’s lawyer, failed to serve a Notice of Claims against the State to the departmental head of the department, responsible for Justice Matters, or the Solicitor General.


The decision was handed down at the National Court this morning, after the defendants applied for the proceedings to be dismissed on the grounds, that the plaintiff failed to comply with section 5 of the Claims Act 1996.


Section 5 of the claims act requires a notice to be given to the plaintiff on the occurrence from which the claim arose, in relation to this; the State’s evidence claims it has no record of a notice being served by the plaintiff.


In response to this, Sir Michael who was represented by Koeget Lawyers filed an affidavit, stating that a notice was prepared by way of letter. An attempt to serve the notice to the Solicitor General was unsuccessful as her Executive Secretary was not available.


The firm then tried to serve the notice to a female employee from the office but she refused to accept the notice as she was not authorized to do so.


Justice Kariko found the plaintiff did not properly give his section 5 notice and the state’s application to dismiss the proceedings on this basis was maintained.


The proceeding was accordingly dismissed with costs in favor of the defendants.

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