Contempt Matters Against Five Leaders Remain Before Court

The National

Contempt matters against five MPs in the Opposition remain before the court while proceedings are expected to continue next year, a lawyer says.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s lawyer Tiffany Twivey said that contempt matters before the court against the five Members of Parliament would proceed even after the Supreme Court upheld O’Neill’s appeal and dismissed the warrant of arrest against him.

“While the substantive matter on the arrest warrant is over, the contempt matters against five Opposition MPs still remain,” she said.

“They were contempt matters concerning comments made in a press conference and subsequent publications concerning the prime minister’s case against the arrest warrant, they will be continuing next year.”

The five MPs who had contempt applications filed against them are Sir Mekere Morauta, Kerenga Kua, Patrick Pruaitch, Belden Namah and Bryan Kramer, all members of the Opposition.

Contempt application filed against Kramer was in relation to his article that was posted online discussing O’Neill’s appeal which obtained a stay order on the warrant of arrest against him. The contempt applications filed against Namah, Kua, Pruaitch and Sir Mekere are related to statements that were televised and published in the mainstream media on August 10 and 14 regarding the warrant of arrest against O’Neill.

It was alleged that the five MPs’ statements caused damage to proceedings before the court in relation to the warrant of arrest and they intended to deter the prime minister availing himself of his constitutional rights to have the matter determined by a court of law.

Meanwhile, the warrant of arrest against O’Neill was dismissed by the Supreme Court on Friday after the court found and held that the arrest warrant was invalid and that it was not properly issued.

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