BY KEITH JACKSON
THE AUSTRALIAN BAR ASSOCIATION has said it is deeply concerned about the manner and circumstances of the arrest on charges of sedition of Sir Salamo Injia, the Papua New Guinea chief justice.
In a statement, the Association said the arrest of the nation’s most senior judicial officer at a time when the court was dealing with the validity of the prime minister’s appointment “raises fundamental issues concerning judicial independence.”
“This is all the more so because the arrest is on the charge of sedition which has a politically charged history,” it said.
“The actions are also troubling given that they have occurred following the previous arrest of the chief justice within the judge’s chambers complex on 6 March this year.”
The Bar Association said that, while no judge was above the law, “it is fundamental to the maintenance of the rule of law that when allegations are made against judicial officers that those allegations are dealt with in a manner that upholds the independence of the judiciary.
“he handling of any such allegations must be, and must be seen to be, in the hands of independent prosecutors as part of a fair and transparent process free from government interference.”
The Bar Association called upon the PNG government ensure that proper steps are taken to recognise the independence of the judiciary in all its dealing with the chief justice.