Court: Kondra’s appeal cannot be reopened
BY: Sally Pokiton
The Supreme Court has refused an application by suspended Member for North Fly, Boka Kondra that asked the court to reopen an appeal it dismissed on November 30, 2016 alleging an error was made.
The Supreme Court on November 30, 2016, dismissed Kondra’s appeal because it found that the trial judge in the National Court, and the Leadership Tribunal members, made no errors in reaching their respective decisions.
Kondra and his lawyer Philip Ame filed a Slip rule application alleging the Supreme Court slipped or fell into error in the Appeal and asked the court to grant leave to revisit the appeal.
Justice Frazer Pitpit on Wednesday refused to grant leave on the slip rule application because the issue raised was not pleaded among the 10 grounds of appeal that was earlier dismissed.
Ame’s main argument in court on Tuesday was on the punishment recommendation that the Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Salatiel Lenalia made during the Tribunal hearing in 2015.
He said the Tribunal flawed by making two separate decisions on the recommended penalty and the whole decision is null and void that should be set aside as it is unconstitutional.
On April 27, 2015, the Leadership Tribunal found Kondra guilty to six counts of misconduct in office.
Ame said the Tribunal on that day made comments of recommendations for Kondra to be criminally prosecuted; however on May 29, 2015 the tribunal recommended that the MP be dismissed from office.
This ground was not raised in the Supreme Court appeal and Ame admitted in court on Tuesday that the counsel representing the Leader then did not bring that up earlier to the attention of the court.
Justice Pitpit in his ruling on Wednesday said the Chairman of the Leadership Tribunal, Justice Salatiel Lenalia made the comments following his observations of the tribunal during the hearing.
He was of the view that there was a misapprehension of that decision and the comments of the Tribunal chairman during the verdict stage that created confusion when the subsequent penalty decision was yet to be done.
He said those comments were made during the decision of verdict and was a “general observation”.
“That recommendation is not a punishment. That is yet to be actioned by appropriate authorities like the Police and Public Prosecutor. It’s still a recommendation if those authorities wish to adopt and take action on.
Justice Pitpit also said the attention of the court was not drawn to this issue then. He also said Slip rule is a common law remedy and is not for the appellant to have a another bite of the cherry.
“Now everything is closed, he is now raising it as a slip and how can it be raised as slip when it was not included in the 10 grounds of appeal.
“Lawyer for the appellant (Kondra) failed to have brought this matter to the attention of the court so we cannot say Supreme Court slipped when it was not brought to the attention of the court,” Pitpit added.