Friday, October 21, 2011

Court: Sir Michael ‘incapable’

Source: The National -Friday, October 21st 2011
By SAMUEL RAITANO


SIR MICHAEL Somare, though ruled by the Supreme Court not to be of “unsound mind”, had lacked the capacity to carry out the functions and duties of the prime minister’s office since March 30.
This was the finding from the evidences from parties in the Special Supreme Court Reference by East Sepik provincial executive presided by Supreme Court judge Justice David Cannings.
The incapability of Sir Michael due to his long illness was an agreed fact by all parties in the reference.
The agreed facts are:
l    Sir Michael was in the period from March 30 to Aug 26 or a significant part of it, incapable of managing his affairs;
l    Sir Michael had lacked the capacity to carry out the functions and duties of the office of the prime minister from March 30 to date; and
l    Sir Michael lacked the capacity during the period of April 14 to Aug 2 2011, or part of it, to make an informed decision whether to resign as prime minister.
However, on the allegations of Sir Michael being of “unsound mind,” the court ruled it had no evidence to prove it.
The matter that remains before the court is to correlate the findings from the evidences on the constitutionality of the events of Aug 2 in which Peter O’Neill was appointed prime minister.
The East Sepik reference was in relation to the events of that day.
Questions raised in the reference by the referrer and the parties involved will be looked at according to the relevant laws guarding the parliamentary procedures and the appointment of the prime minister.
It would also look at the question of vacancy of the prime minister’s post as the day events took a turn in the parliament, sending chain reactions of changes in the country’s political, economic and social affairs to date.

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