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31 May 2018

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Will Self, you are correct in stating that Paclii is not up to date in the sense that the texts of the original acts have in most cases not been updated in accord with later amendments.

However Paclii includes an index to the PNG laws, compiled by the PNG Dept of Justice that claims to be current as of 28 March 2018. This index contains a list of the laws and the subsequent amendments. The index lists over a dozen amendments to the Criminal Code.

The text of the amendments can be usually found in the sessional legislation or in the Revised Edition of the Consolidated Legislation. Previously I have noticed a repealed law that was still listed among the current legislation.

Beware. Paclii is not up to date at all. And if you want to buy any of the National Court's excellent publications, you are plumb out of luck.

I had K200,000 to spend on these books. Ten emails, 15 phone calls, three letters and numerous "wantok" contacts later I could get no answer at all and no books.

It occurred to me that there might be politicians in PNG who don't know that it's illegal to take bribes Paul. It also occurred to me that there may be politicians in PNG who think the reason they got elected is so they can take bribes. And my tongue is only half in my cheek.

It also occurred to me that bribery and corruption are great political weapons to use in election campaigns.

The election and defection of Sam Basil is a case in point. I'm not saying that Sam is corrupt or takes bribes but he did play the corruption card very well in the last election. We now know that's all he was doing because he then defected and joined the most corrupted government PNG has ever had. Clearly his stand against corruption in the campaign was fake.

How do you separate the Sam Basils from the genuine corruption fighters? I'd suggest the only way to do that is look at their actions against corruption prior to an election, or if they've been a member before their actions in government. Using this measure Bryan Kramer and Gary Juffa qualify but we can't be sure about the others. I can think of a few extra "maybes" but can count them on the fingers of one hand.

Excellent discussion point Phil. I can't imagine why you zero in on political corruption however? (Ha!)

Having available legislation is unfortunately just one facet of the operation of law. In the three pillars of government, in addition to the legislature, there must also be the proper operation of the two other arms of effective government, namely the Executive and the Judiciary.

The judiciary or the courts can only operate effectively if the Executive, in this case law enforcement and public prosecutor etc. are themselves effective and on the ball.

Any weakness in the system will weaken the entire set up.

The external factors, one of which you point out, are awareness of the law but also having the strength of conviction to lay a complaint and the necessary funds to pursue justice through the courts.

As we know, our Kiap courts may have been rough and ready but were operating within the village structures and at village levels. The did not cost either the litigants or the defenders anything more than their time and efforts.

If the Kiap got it wrong in the Local Court, an appeal to a higher authority could be made and sometimes was. This didn't cost the complainant anything more than going to the next level of authority, namely the OIC in a large station or the ADC in a Sub District and making a verbal complaint.

The problem arises when the lack of knowledge and mystic of the law is used for the purposes of implied or imposed power.

As Gary has pointed out, knowledge and education is enormously important in ensuring the whole process operates effectively and fairly. In our day, the background and cultural knowledge was often provided prior to any court case by our loyal outstation police and village officials.
This allowed a more comprehensive appreciation of the issues and often these issues could be settled by discussion rather than taking the matter further.

The traditional arbitration that occurred in the village was therefore part of the Kiap system of imposing law and and order. When that system starts to break down due to changes in society, the replacement by a more rigid judicial system becomes far less effective and sterile.

The operation of the law often then becomes disconnected to those to whom it applies.

Phil - your point is well made. Maybe many readers of the blog are aware that the laws of PNG can be accessed on the internet. I have found that the ‘paclii’ web site is very useful.

The specific PNG site is https://www.paclii.org/countries/pg.html , and from there one can go to Papua New Guinea Consolidated Legislation and find legislation under alphabetical heading. For example the Criminal Code Act 1974 you refer to is available at https://www.paclii.org/pg/legis/consol_act/cca1974115/

The “sessional legislation” contains some amendments to the same act. There is also an up-to-date index that is useful.

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