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Vaki to appear in court this Friday

THE Supreme Court will determine constitutional issues on the powers of Police Commissioner Geoffrey Vaki on Friday. 
National Court judge Justice Les Gavara-Nanu referred legal issues raised in Vaki’s judicial review proceedings challenging the District Court’s decision to issue a warrant of arrest on Prime Minister Peter O’Neill .
Gavara-Nanu exercised his powers under section 18(2) of the Constitution to refer the matter to the Supreme Court, saying that fundamental constitutional issues had been raised. 
The constitutional issues relate to the commissioner issuing directions to apply for review on the arrest warrant taken out by members of the constabulary. 
Last Thursday, Vaki’s lawyer John Griffin appeared in court and moved the leave application for judicial review. 
Before Griffin could proceed in arguing his leave application, Gavara-Nanu raised constitutional issues on the Police Commissioner’s role under section 196 and 197 of the Constitution. 
Gavara-Nanu suggested to counsels for O’Neill to be named as a plaintiff in the proceedings. 
The court adjourned for a day to give time for parties to prepare the necessary documents given the various legal issues raised. 
When court reconvened on Friday, O’Neill and Vaki were joint plaintiffs in the judicial review proceedings after necessary amendment were made to the court documents. 
Gavara-Nanu suggested to the parties that he would hear completion on Vaki’s leave application then formally refer the issues raised to the Supreme Court to determine. 
He said he would not rule on the leave application as he might be pre-empting the Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutional issues raised in Vaki’s application. 
Gavara-Nanu said he would only refer issues raised by Vaki to the Supreme Court.
Griffin and lawyer for the State Ralph Saulep agreed to the judge’s proposition. 
Griffin then completed submissions on Vaki’s leave application, saying this was plainly an arguable case for judicial review. 
Saulep did not oppose Vaki’s leave application, saying there were serious issues to be tried. 
After a brief adjournment, Gavara-Nanu said he did not recall a situation where a Police Commissioner had taken actions against his own members. 
The judge said he was of the view the issues raised by Vaki must be referred to the Supreme Court to determine.

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