In light of the legal slugging matches going on with Arthur Somare lately, I thought this post by Paul Oates seemed quite relevant. It was written before Peter O’Neill’s government got in to power.
By Paul Oates
A legal action which is brought, regardless of its merits, solely to harass or subdue an adversary. (1)
During the life of this current PNG Parliament [the Somare Government], a number of high profile leaders have been referred to the Leadership Tribunal by the Ombudsman Commission. Continual legal argument has however delayed any court from determining an outcome on many occasions. Often it seems like there is a never ending stream of legal obstacles raised by highly paid legal representatives that continually delay proceedings.
In the case put to the Leadership Tribunal about PM Somare, eventually the facts were finally revealed in court and the case proven.
However, could the precedence in the PM’s case give rise to speculation that all the previous legal actions to defer, delay or overturn the Ombudsman’s referral all seemed rather pointless. Given that if it were not an open and shut case in the first place, it be unlikely that the Ombudsman Commission would refer the case to the Public Prosecutor if the facts were not already established.
Further speculation might also arise that a similar situation exists with other cases of the same nature currently being continually deferred on various legal conjecture.
There could also be questions asked about who pays for all the high priced legal experts that are initiating the blocking action aimed at delaying, deferring or dismissing the current referrals? Where has the funding for all this legal assistance come from?
Surely, the PNG taxpayers haven’t funded this ‘personal and private’ legal defence? Public health, education, and all the other essential government services shouldn’t go without, in order to pay for a defence against what appears to be officially a ‘fait accompli’?
The PNG people would probably be very interested to know where the funds to pay for any of this legal assistance originated? If this personal legal assistance was funded from government funds, who decided the public’s health and education was a lower priority than the funding of an entirely ‘private’ legal case of this nature? Was there a clear conflict of interest over who controlled the funding and who it helped support?
On a totally different subject, it is interesting for some to note that in America in the 1930’s the only way Special Investigator Elliot Ness was finally able to ‘nail’ big time criminal Al Capone (2) was to charge him with tax evasion. Capone’s other criminal activities were fully ‘protected’ using the money he gained from the sale of illegal alcohol.
Elliot Ness and his small team realised that until they were able to remove Capone’s official ‘protection’, they would never be able to gain a conviction. So they first reduced the source of income the Capone criminals continued to acquire, by shutting down his alcohol production. When Capone’s alcohol production was closed down, Capone had no money to pay the government people who protected him from being convicted. By removing this source of revenue, Ness decided to go after Capone’s ‘Achilles Heel’ (3) and Al Capone’s criminal empire collapsed.
In essence, after discovering that any legal action amounted to nothing due to Capone effectively buying his way out of any court case raised against him, Ness finally succeeded by ‘lateral thinking’. (4)
(1) Vexation Litigation – Wikipedia definition
(2) Al_Capone – Notwithstanding his involvement in organised crime, Capone was convicted on federal charges of tax evasion, and sentenced to federal prison.
(3) An Achilles’ heel is a deadly weakness in spite of overall strength, can actually or potentially lead to downfall. While the mythological origin refers to a physical vulnerability, metaphorical references to other attributes or qualities that can lead to downfall are common.
(4) Lateral thinking is solving problems through an indirect and creative approach, using reasoning that is not immediately obvious and involving ideas that may not be obtainable by using only traditional step-by-step logic. The term lateral thinking was coined by Edward de Bono in the book New Think: The Use of Lateral Thinking published in 1967.