THE President of the Malaita Masina Forum (MMF), William Gua, has called for the overhaul of the High Court, saying its administration has failed the people of Solomon Islands.
“The High Court is no longer what it used to be. The respect people once had for it is no longer there. Cases languished before the Court for months on end, official written communications from litigants seeking answers have gone unanswered and the list goes on.
“Today total maladministration rules the High Court and unless corrective measures are taken now, we have not seen the worst of it yet. We have lost other government institutions through incompetence. The High Court must never be allowed to suffer the same fate,” Mr. Gua said.
“In this regard, I am calling for the immediate resignations of the Chief Justice, Sir Albert Palmer, the Registrar of the High Court, Ann Myonnie and Justice John Keniapisia. They must all go because through their actions they have allowed the integrity of the High Court to be called into question.
“I have all the evidence to support my call for the resignations of all three,” he said.
Mr Gua cited a case involving Australian couple, Fred and Gloria Olsson whose case had been decided by the Court of Appeal, but High Court Judge John Keniapisia decided to accept an application to rehear the case private lawyer, John Sullivan QC and Sol-Law decided to appeal in the High Court.
“The High Court is never an appellant court. Furthermore, there was never a referral in the Court of Appeal decision for the High Court to rehear the matter. Why did the Chief Justice as the head of the judiciary not intervene when one of his judges was blatantly abusing the process?
“The integrity of the judiciary, which include the High Court and the Court of Appeal, must be protected at all costs. And if protecting the High Court means heads must roll, it must be done.
“What is happening is that no one seems to care. Letters to the Chief Justice remained unanswered in the same way the Registrar of the High Court allowed official communications to be left unattended. In the end some judges think they own the High Court, running it whichever way they wished to do so.
“This must stop,” Mr Gua said.
A former judge of the High Court said recently that the level of service provided by the High has slipped backward since RAMSI left Solomon Islands in 2013, attributing the decline to lack of leadership.
Solomon Star’s request for a comment yesterday met with the expected from the High Court Deputy Registrar Jack Taloifuila.
“I have no comments to make.”
It is understood the Registrar, Ann Myonnie, is on leave and is expected to resume duty on 17th August.
By ALFRED SASAKO