The Supreme Court in Papua New Guinea has once again found Peter O’Neill’s appointment as prime minister was illegal.
In a split three to two ruling the court upheld its decision of last December that O’Neill’s replacement of Sir Michael Somare as prime minister was illegal.
Chief justice Sir Salamo Injia said the order to reinstate Sir Michael still stands and is binding.
But only three members of the five-man bench took part in the decision after two judges withdrew because they felt their colleagues were biased.
In it, one of the presiding judges, justice Nicholas Kirriwom, refers to the O’Neill government as an “illegal regime”.
Deputy chief justice Gibbs Salika said he would not deliver a decision because it could be compromised.
Justice Bernard Sakora disqualified himself and said he would be disregarding his judicial oath if he proceeded.
O’Neill says he will not respect the court’s decision.
“Our government remains until parliament decides otherwise. We do not recognise the decision of the court,” he said.
He says the country’s judiciary is biased and has ordered police to investigate Sir Salamo Injia.
PNG’s parliament was dissolved last week ahead of the general election, but will be recalled for a special sitting this morning to deal with the court’s decision.