THE SUPREME COURT will deliver its judgment on the legality of the Pardon Instrument for the 14 convicted Members of Parliament this afternoon Wednesday, 21st October, 2015.
Both the prosecution council and the defense council gave their submissions to the Supreme Court yesterday morning regarding the legal basis of the pardoning and the revocation of the pardoning of the 14 convicted MP’s by the President.
Prosecution Council claimed that the act by the then Acting President Marcellino Pipite was unconstitutional. One of the reasons why they claimed that the Pardon Instrument was unconstitutional was conflict of Interest as accorded in Article 66 of the Constitution. The Prosecution counsel said it is a clear that there was a conflict of interest due to the fact that the Acting President pardoned himself and the other convicted MP’s.
Article 66 of the Constitution provides that the Conduct of Leaders is in line with the Leadership Code. It states that any person defined as a leader in Article 67 has a duty to conduct himself in such a way, both in his public and private life, so as not to place himself in a position in which he has or could have a conflict of interests or in which the fair exercise of his public or official duties might be compromised.
In relation to the revocation of the Pardon by the President of the Republic of Vanuatu His Excellency Baldwin Lonsdale, the Prosecution Counsel agreed that the President has the power to revoke instruments of a party which he considers incorrect.
On the other hand, the defense council told the court that they strongly agree that Marcellino Pipite lawfully exercised his presidential powers as accorded by article 38 of the Constitution.
The defense council made this submission court with supporting evidence which is a letter dated 5th October 2015, from the President of the Republic Baldwin Lonsdale formally appointing Marcellino Pipite as the Acting President while he will be out of the country.
Meanwhile, Article 38 of the constitution stated that the President of the Republic may pardon, commute or reduce a sentence imposed on a person convicted of an offence. Parliament may provide for a committee to advise the President in the exercise of this function.
With that, the defense council claimed that the revocation of the pardon was unconstitutional. One of the reasons why they said this was that Marcellino Pipite rightfully exercised his legal presidential powers as accorded in article 38 of the constitution.
The constitutional petition was filed last week by Former Prime Minister Joe Natuman to challenge the legitimacy of the pardon.
WATCH: President Revokes Pardon Instrument