The fall of Danely Tindiwi & the rise of Peter Ipatas
My parents told me that sometimes God says no

Bar Association says banning of lawyers is ‘deeply disturbing’

Patrick O'Sullivan QCFELICITY NELSON | Lawyers Weekly

THE Australian Bar Association has described the barring of two Australian lawyers from Papua New Guinea as “deeply disturbing”.

Lawyer Greg Egan and his junior counsel Terence Lambert were preparing to represent anti-corruption authorities in a case against PNG prime minister Peter O'Neill when they were prevented from travelling to the country.

“If reports of a travel ban issued by Chief Migration Officer Mataio Rabura are true, then this is a deeply disturbing situation,” said Bar Association vice-president Patrick O’Sullivan QC (pictured).

Mr Egan and Mr Lambert have been advising the PNG National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate and Taskforce Sweep, an anti-corruption agency, in cases relating to prominent PNG politicians.

Both have valid practising certificates for PNG. Mr Egan has been representing PNG clients in the country since 1988.

An arrest warrant was issued for prime minister O'Neill last year by fraud investigators. Mr O'Neill evaded arrest and reacted by sacking his Attorney-General.

Law Council of Australia executive member Morry Bailes stood by the Bar Association, saying: “I endorse the Bar Association’s statement today asserting that lawyers must be free to practise the law and represent their clients without fear of reprisal.”

Mr O’Sullivan added that foreign counsel play an important role in the administration of justice in PNG, and lawyers must be allowed to practise without intimidation or hindrance.

“This includes the right of entry into the country," he said. "Interfering with the impartial administration of justice will only serve to jeopardise the rule of law in PNG. I urge the PNG government to see what is at stake.”

Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has said Australia “must respect PNG legal processes” and has decided not to intervene at a diplomatic level. 


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Mathias Kin

OK Phil and Harry, you maybe right on the processes that need to be adhered, but with the current state of affairs this PM, Task Force Sweep and the ongoing court battles, O'Neill is on his last Panadol. He is cornered and before long he will be thrown into the dungeons at Bomana.

Jack Klomes

Funnily enough I wonder what is happening on the case of the alleged rape of a PNG female citizen by Australian security guards on Manus Island.

I hope they are returned to PNG because they in Australia know very well, and have been telling us time after time, again and again and now they are telling us again in PNG, and let me quote, "interfering with the impartial administration of justice will only serve to jeopardise the rule of law in PNG."

So return the "alleged rapists" so that justice can be served and the rule of law in PNG upheld.

Because if they are not returned this will impede proper investigations to establish the truth and justice will not be served and I too as a common Papua New Guinean find it "deeply disturbing".

harry topham

Exactly Phil, besides is they were going to "represent" their clients in Court they would also need to have their qualifications duly accredited with their PNG counterpart bar association so that they would be allowed to practice their crafts in PNG.
Even the lowly Valuation profession has the same rules re Oz/PNG professional standards

Phil Fitzpatrick

As I understand it the lawyers had business visas. This allows them to have meetings etc. but not to work. If you want to work in PNG you need a work permit, which is quite expensive.

If the lawyers are familiar with PNG they should know this. People working on the cheaper business visas has been a problem for a long time and PNG cracks down on it every so often.

I imagine the visas of the two lawyers were scrutinised fairly closely given their reason for going to PNG. They should have known they would be closely scrutinised.

They should now apply for work permits, but I imagine they've now queered their pitch.

As for the 'coincidence' around the visas and the intended purpose of them - well, who knows.

I suspect it might just be a case of some arrogant lawyers thinking they could ride roughshod over PNG laws.

Philip G Kaupa

Come on! No one is above the law, why interfere with it. Let it take its course.

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