BEYOND demolishing prime minister Peter O’Neill’s attempt to stay his arrest, yesterday afternoon’s judgement of the National Court of Papua New Guinea strikes down the propaganda peddled by O’Neill through television channel EMTV.
In his interview on the EMTV Insight program (which EMTV rebroadcast claiming it to be ‘due to popular demand’), O’Neill made several misleading remarks. But the arguments O’Neill made on EMTV held no water in court.
In the interview, O’Neill misled Papua New Guineans when he said there was no need for an arrest warrant and that the police should have just asked him to present himself for an interview.
This argument was dealt with by Justice Kariko in the National Court, with His Honour stating: “…it was argued that the Warrant was wrongly issued because no arrest can be made until after a formal interview, to accord with the rules of natural justice. This is a misconceived submission. The Police are entitled to arrest a suspect based on evidence they possess.”
The judge was also unconvinced by O’Neill’s argument that a restraining order against the arrest warrant would not interfere with Police investigations.
“I consider an arrest to be an integral part of the investigatory functions of the Police,” he said in his judgement. “To my mind, the amended restraining orders sought would still amount to interfering with Police functions.”
The shallow reporting of this case by the mainstream media has led to the conveyance of gross misinformation to the people of PNG. The deliberate dissemination by veteran journalists of the prime minister’s propaganda to the masses is morally repugnant.
Fortunately, there are many Papua New Guineans who choose not to be misled by corporate propaganda.
In order for the Court to grant a restraining order against the Warrant, O’Neill also had to convince the Court that the Police had abused their powers.
To do this, his lawyers argued that the Police and Task Force Sweep had been politically compromised.
These are the same arguments O’Neill used to on EMTV to justify the disbanding of Task Force Sweep, the sacking or sidelining of Police investigators and lawyers, and his refusal to respond to the arrest warrant.
However, the National Court found that there was not a shred of evidence to substantiate O’Neill’s claims of improper motivations on the part of investigators and Police.
“Is there any clear abuse in this case?” Justice Kariko asked. “I find no such evidence of this. There is in fact no evidence that the current criminal investigations of the plaintiffs are the work of rogue policemen or that the investigations are politically motivated as described by the Prime Minister in his affidavit.”
With that settled by the Court, O’Neill’s proposed Commission of Inquiry is seen as a distraction and delay tactic.
O’Neill is now seen to be a man tainted by controversy and desperate to hold on to power and who has abused the Office of the Prime Minister and destroyed the careers and livelihoods of men of honour.
The suggestion that newly appointed Police Commissioner Vaki should review the case turned out to be nothing short of advice to obstruct an investigation. The Courts have now refused to obstruct a Police investigation by refusing to grant a restraining order against the arrest Warrant.
Having lost his arguments in Court, O’Neill’s words are seen to be baseless. He has also lost in the court of public opinion and his credibility has plummeted domestically and internationally.
He needs to step down immediately to save whatever dignity is left.