Kokopo court house gets new court room and chamber
Deputy Chief Justice Sir Salamo speaking at the official opening of the new court room and judges chamber.
The new look Kokopo court house was officially opened last Friday by Deputy Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia.
Speaking at the official opening Sir Salamo said "Judicial power belongs to the people" not the judiciary. He went on to say that the judicial system comprises of the formal and informal.
"I believe both the formal and informal courts are part of the judicial system of our country," Sir Salamo said. He went on to say that 50% of cases are dealt with by informal courts: especially the village courts. In addition to that he urged the Executive arm of the government to totally support the work of the village courts, not only them but also the Provincial and local level governments.
Sir Salamo acknowledged the government for allocating money to the District and National Courts but insists the money allocated is not enough. With the opening of the Kokopo court registry, the judges' chamber and new court room will help to ease the case workload since Kokopo has got the highest criminal case workload in the country. At the same time the judiciary wants all regional centres within the country to be fully equipped.
The judiciary will give priority to the main regional centres to cater for case workload by having additional judges residing there and a third judge for Kokopo is in the planning process. Sir Salamo reiterated that the Constitution states that judicial functions must take place in a designated place so as to discharge its judicial function.
According to the Deputy Chief Justice the Judiciary must have a permanent home not temporary shelter. "What you see is a temporary shelter; Kokopo must have a permanent home," Sir Salamo said. He went on to say that the Judiciary has not deserted East New Britain Province but it was the cause of nature and he can't wait for the building of a new court house.
When we put up temporary shelters we forget about permanent structures. "That signifies that we have to have permanent buildings so we can do our job properly," Sir Salamo said. The Deputy Chief Justice is optimistic that with the same enthusiasm shown here we should be able to put up new permanent buildings in the new foreseeable future.
The registrar of the National and Supreme Court Raka Lohia paid tribute to Mr. Roger Dickson -Team Leader of the Facilities Assert Management Unit of the Law and Justice Sector Program (AusAID) for making this activity possible with funding of about K700, 000.00.
According to Resident Judge Lenalia, East New Britain Province has the highest listing of criminal cases in Papua New Guinea. That is why it has two residential judges and with the completion of the new court room both judges can sit simultaneously in hearing cases with the aim of reducing the backlog of cases here.