Fiji accuses Perth lawyer of contempt

22 JUN 2008

Ragone, constant and consistent criticism is slowly hitting their mark. Imagine this illegal regime taking out complaints against others for criticising them!!! The height of hypocrisy!!!


Keep blogging ragone!!

SV Team.

Fiji’s interim Government wants to have a Perth barrister disciplined for an article he wrote in The Australian newspaper.

The article, by barrister John Cameron, questioned the legitimacy of Fiji’s post-coup judges and infuriated the authorities in Suva.

“This is getting completely out of control,” Dr Cameron said.

He feared he could be jailed by the post-coup authorities if he returned to Fiji next month to speak at a conference.

“I could go and find myself dragged before a court and told to apologise. And if I don’t, they will lock me up,” he said.

The complaint, by Fiji solicitor-general Christopher Pryde, is the latest chapter in a long-running dispute between the post-coup authorities and their critics in the democracy lobby and the media.

The article at the heart of the affair was published in The Australian’s legal affairs section on April 25 and later triggered intense debate in Fiji when it was reprinted by The Fiji Times and The Fiji Sun.

Fiji Times managing director Evan Hannah was arrested and deported on May 2.

Dr Cameron triggered a sharp response from Fiji attorney-general Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum by writing in these pages that judges appointed after Fiji’s 2006 coup were “usurpers”.

“The orders of such usurpers are unlawful and of no legal effect,” he wrote.

“It’s not simply the right of counsel to challenge such orders but as officers of the court their duty is to do so,” Dr Cameron wrote.

Soon after the article appeared, Sayed-Khaiyum had accused The Australian and the Fiji newspapers of being “completely irresponsible”, adding thast the newspapers  “colluded” with Dr Cameron to discuss issues that were before the courts.

Pryde’s complaint was sent to the Fiji Law Society on April 30, just before Hannah’s expulsion.

It said Dr Cameron’s article was sub judice and breached the legal professional rules against commenting on matters before the courts.

It also accused Dr Cameron of contempt of court and abuse of process over two cases in which Dr Cameron had represented Fiji’s leading democracy campaigner, Angie Heffernan.
Ms Heffernan had unsuccessfully challenged the legitimacy of the post-coup regime and the post-coup judges.

Ms Heffernan is now facing an order for costs of $128,000.

In July last year, a judge of the Fiji Court of Appeal, John Byrne, produced a judgment in one of those cases in which he accused Dr Cameron of making “extraordinary and insolent” assertions in his submissions.

Justice Byrne said Dr Cameron had implied that the case had been delayed so it could be “heard by a military appointee”.

“There’s no doubt that the ‘military appointee’ is myself and it is then alleged that I might be more inclined to entertain an ex-parte application and deliver a favourable decision.

“It imputes not possible but rather likely bias for which there is no foundation. For such a submission to be made by counsel of Dr Cameron’s claimed experience is ill-becoming of an officer of this court.

“In my opinion it is a clear example of contempt,” Justice Byrne said.

Pryde’s complaint also referred to a judgment of High Court judge Devendra Pathik.
On April 11 Justice Pathik handed down reasons that said: “I must observe and comment on the contemptuous behaviour on the part of solicitors on record in this case when they do not want to name His Excellencies (sic) judges properly in the heading to the case.”

Justice Pathik objected to the fact that Justice Byrne had been described as “John Edward Byrne formerly a judge of the High Court of Fiji”.

Justice Pathik also objected to the fact that Fiji’s acting chief justice Anthony Gates had not been referred to using that title but as “Harold Cumberland Thomas Gates, a judge of the High Court of Fiji”.

Dr Cameron said yesterday that the complaint about his conduct was itself an abuse of process.

The solicitor-general was attempting to use the disciplinary processes of the Fiji Law Society to deal with matters that were beyond its jurisdiction.

The complaint had accused Dr Cameron of committing contempt of court – a criminal offence that should be dealt with by the courts, not the Fiji Law Society, he said.

“If the courts deal with it and I am convicted then the Law Society can say I have brought discredit upon the profession and they can then deal with it as a disciplinary matter,” Dr Cameron said.

“And how can it possibly be a contempt to publish a newspaper article in Australia?”

He said he was not responsible for the fact that The Fiji Times and The Fiji Sun had reprinted his article.

He also questioned whether it was a breach of the sub judice rule to discuss civil litigation that did not involve a jury when the discussion took place in a newspaper published in another country.

He said Sayed-Khaiyum had published a press statement discussing the challenge to the post-coup judges.

“The attorney-general, who would be the prosecutor in a contempt matter, has done it himself,” Dr Cameron said.

Since Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama seized power in Fiji in 2006, six Australian judges have resigned from their part-time positions with the Fiji judiciary.

On the same day that Evan Hannah was deported from Fiji, Federal Court judge Robert French revealed that when his judicial commission in Fiji expired, he would not accept a renewed appointment.

Several other pre-coup Australian judges remain part of the Fiji judiciary.



12 Responses to “Fiji accuses Perth lawyer of contempt”

  1. Bloggertracker Says:

    It’s time for $2.4m coup museum

    6/19/2008, Fiji Sun


    The interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama was reported as saying that he was really interested in finding out when the Australian High Commission staff would be leaving the commission complex because he was trying to find an alternative site for the museum, presumably to relocate the historical Fiji Museum.
    Although it would be sad to see the High Commission complex become vacant, but if it did before the next general election, the complex should be immediately transformed into a $2.4million “coup museum”, a museum that is really needed to remind and educate us of the opportunistic and destructive power of the coup culture in Fiji, and of the various personalities and institutions who have made it possible for the continuation of that coup culture in the country.

    Maybe, the Interim Government should acquire a complex as soon as possible for a new permanent coup museum, instead of wasting the taxpayers $2.4million on building a better Fiji which sounds attractive on paper but will not achieve its desired purpose.

    It would be really worthwile to have a museum on the 1987, 2000 and 2006 coups – a self reflective mirror for the present and succeeding generations, even if those involved in the various coups might feel that the museum could turn out to be a “name and shame” outfit of their own roles in the coup culture.

    The coup museum will be better than even a truth and reconciliation commission, which is generally a novel experiment in healing the wounds of a fractured nation but it is not a permanent reminder of the destructive impact of coups on the country, and its citizens.

    The proposed museum, I believe, will have a far greater impact on transforming Fiji and the attitude of the Fiji Islanders to coups and coup personalities than all the projects and publications put together that might flow from the deliberations of the National Council for the Building of a Better Fiji and the so-called Peoples Charter, which is itself a by-product of the 2006 coup.

    The coups are like a newly built factory, which creates jobs, but where no tests are required as long as one is willing to shamelessly fly the flag on behalf of the coup leaders, and to shove down the nation’s throat their own manifestoes, agendas and visions of Fiji. Some of yesteryear peoples who might have been running in their cheap “Made in China” pyjamas, suddenly find themselves being driven around in Pajeros, flying around the world to attend global meetings, or ending up as ambassadors and high commissioners around the world’s capitals..

    Why is there a coup culture in Fiji? Unbridled opportunism is the major catalyst for coup culture in Fiji.

    People are willing to sacrifice ideals and principles, and have no qualm or guilt in taking up jobs of their fellow citizens, many unceremoniously thrown out by coup makers and supporters.

    Every coup has produced a new crop of the so-called “saviours of the nation” – and in the process the coup culture is repeated over and over in Fiji.

    These “coup riders”, who do not have to have their CVs vetted by the general public, end up in the “driving seat”, claiming to have a dream to build a better Fiji but in reality are lost in a delusion.

    Whatever reasons are or had been advanced in the execution of the coups in Fiji, there is no denying the enormous damage the coups have inflicted on the nation, individuals, institutions, and the economy, just to mention a few examples.

    The museum could contain all the three constitutions: 1970, 1990 and 1997 Constitutions.

    It should have the takeover speeches of Mr Rabuka, George Speight and Commodore Frank Bainimarma. It will enable the citizens to judge for themselves the character and intention of these three figures.

    Here is one item for the museum, as recorded by Hansard reporter Serei Moucavu on 19 May 2000, when “strangers” walked into Parliament, while Mr Chaudhry’s deputy prime minister Dr Tupeni Baba was speaking.

    “At this point (10:45 a.m.) several heavily-armed strangers (one wearing balaclava) stormed into the Chambers and jumped over the Bar shouting: “Sit down, sit still and remain calm!”). As the Hansard reports:

    MR SPEAKER (Standing up) What is this?

    STRANGER NO 1 This is a civil coup. Hold tight, nobody move!

    MR. SPEAKER Yes?

    STRANGER NO 1 This is a civil coup by the people, the taukei people and we ask you to please retire to your chamber right now, Mr. Speaker. Please co-operate so nobody will get hurt.

    STRANGER NO 2 Tose ike; o iko toso mai ike! (Move here; you, move here!) (Speaking to the other strangers) Dua me toso mai ike. Dua me tu mai kea. Totolo! (One to move here, one to stand over there. Quickly!)

    STRANGER NO 1 Hold your seats.

    STRANGER NO 2 Dabe! Dabe I keri! (Sit! Sit there!)

    MR. SPEAKER (Still standing) Na cava: what is this?

    STRANGER NO. 1 This is a civil coup, with arms and ammunition, by the people and for the people. Please just tell them not to get up!

    MR. SPEAKER It is an illegal act, you know that!

    STRANGER NO. 1 Mr Speaker, please, we do not want anybody to get hurt. Please do not make things difficult for us or I will be forced to use this (brandishing a gun). Would the Members of the Opposition leave the Chamber with the Speaker.

    MR. SPEAKER (Still standing, and pointing a finger at Stranger No. 1) If you have to shoot anyone in this House, you shoot me first!

    HON. RATU I. KUBUABOLA (opposition leader). (Still seated) No, we will not leave without our Speaker! (At this point, Stranger No. 2, fires two shots towards the ceiling of the Chamber)

    (Mr. Speaker leaves the Chamber with the Leader of the Opposition and Opposition Members. All the doors to the Chamber are immediately closed and guarded by the armed strangers. Government Members and six Parliamentary staff remaining in the Chamber)

    “The House was unceremoniously adjourned at 10.55 a.m.,” the Hansard records.

    The museum could also contain quotable quotes, which would allow the public to judge for themselves the sincerity of all those who are claiming to be working in the best interest of the nation.

    There are some who have been arguing that death should mean death for the treasonists.

    And here is a quotable quote from Justice Michael Scott, who sentenced George Speight on 18 February 2002: “George Speight, the sentence of the court upon you is that you be taken from this place to a lawful prison and thence to a place of execution and that you there suffer death by hanging and may the Lord have mercy upon your soul.”

    Within hours, Mr Speight’s sentence was commuted to life in prison. Besides the photos and pronouncements of the key personalities and political parties, the museum could contain manifestoes of the various political parties and many other exhibits et etc, as the museum proposal is under discussion.

    In any case, the NCBBF can continue its work in cyberspace, as its website is up and running ( I strongly recommend that it set up a monitor to record the number of hits it is getting a day, to gauge the nation’s support for its projects, instead of wasting its time bashing the media).

    The NCBBF does not need the $2.4 funding and a secretariat to map out the future roadmap for Fiji, nor pay John Samy $12,000 a month (what a school teacher gets in a whole year) or $100 to those attending its meetings.

    All these monies could be used to bring school children, their parents and the teachers, and the people of Fiji (and tourists) for educational tour of the coup museum, instead of spending it on administrative and office expenses of TASS, salaries for mainly the local staff and a few consultants, advertising and public relations, consultation, feedback and community outreach activities, and administrative and organisational costs for the meetings of the NCBBF, the 3 NTTs and the 9 Working Groups (WGs).

    So, please, give the $2.4million to us instead, to set up the coup museum, which will be a first of its kind in the world. The museum could be administered by “The Coup Foundation of Fiji”, with possibly the father of the coups, Sitiveni Rabuka, as its patron, if he agrees to serve on the board.

    George Speight could be included once he has served his time, and as for Commodore Frank Bainimarama, we will have to wait until his own fate is decided in the foreseeable future, although he and his Ministers claim to have obtained immunity from the President.

    However, we must ensure that no one is paid to set up the museum, or afterwards, for I am sure that those who love and deeply care for their “coup coup land”, would be willing to come forward as volunteers and run the museum free of charge, bringing their own roti and curry from home for lunch.

    For I have never understood how could anyone in post-coup Fiji claim that he or she has joined the interim regime to move the country forward, and yet put a price tag for their services, and that includes the interim Cabinet administrators, styled “Ministers”, as if their services are indispensable. Its utter nonsense.

    There is convincing evidence that the Peoples Charter for Change had been drawn up in New Zealand and transported to Fiji to be rubber-stamped by the interim regime. According to John Samy, in January 2007 he and one Francis Narayan travelled to Wellington, at their own initiative and expense, to meet senior officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to express their concerns about New Zealand’s not only hard, but hardening stance towards Fiji.

    “We felt that New Zealand and indeed Australia and the international community should look at ways and means to assist Fiji deal with its fundamental problems, rather than to isolate it.

    Towards the end of February last year, when the Interim Government was working on its Road Map for the restoration of democracy, I was contacted by Minister Chaudhry. It was then, and remains now, my clear understanding that the invitation for my involvement originated from the Prime Minister; that Minister Chaudhry contacted me only upon the express request of the Prime Minister.”

    Curiously, I was flipping through some old e-mails from my regular contacts in New Zealand and came across a few relating to John Samy and the Peoples Charter.

    At the time the e-mails were sent to me, there was hardly any discussion and dissent on the Peoples Charter, so the sections on Mr Samy and the Charter had escaped my scrutiny.

    Since then, I have been able to establish that Mr Samy and Mr Narayan had met up with a NZ Labour MP and had discussed the proposed Peoples Charter. One e-mailer had claimed that Mr Samy had circulated the draft charter to some of them, telling in May last year that he was doing “this for the Military Government of Fiji”.

    The e-mailer alleged that Mr Samy told them that he would eventually head the charter task force.

    “He even told us that we could go to Fiji together and earn expatriate salaries while working for charter task force”.

    The e-mailer claimed: “The advertisement later in Fiji for the head of task force was a farce, as it was a foregone conclusion that the job was already earmarked for the architect of charter (John). John and Francis Narayan went around to some Parliamentarians in New Zealand urging them to support Frank Bainimarama and the Charter. John boasted to one of the NZ Labour MPs that he has a direct line to Frank Bainimarama and he can talk to him any time he wants. The Labour MP later told me in disgust what John and Francis told him.”

    Another e-mailer notified me in June 2007, “John Samy has helped draw up a concept of building a better Fiji. But they cannot do so by ignoring SDL and Qarase, as they represent a large chunk of Fijian voters. There still appears to be feeling of vindictiveness against SDL and this may not be fruitful- it will cause resentment and possibility of violence.

    What is worrying is that all those people in top positions who have lost their gravy train will not be sitting idle, as history has told us in 1987 and 2000.”

    In May 2001, Jone Dakuvula, then with CCF, responding to my attack on the CCF, had concluded a lengthy opinion as follows: “I am confident that his (chairman of the Indian summit, Dr Biman Prasad) will be preferred by those who support CCF to that of someone (i.e. ME) who has been away from this country for many years.”

    I wonder if that also applies to his new boss at NCBBF, John Samy, who left Fiji after the 1987 coups. I suggest that those drafting the Peoples Charter should close shop and turn their charter into a political manifesto, and fight the general election – contesting seats from provinces which have voted against the Peoples Charter.

    And the $2.4million is handed over to The Coup Foundation of Fiji for the proposed coup museum, which will be a lasting moument.

    lThe views expressed are those of Victor Lal and not that of the Fiji Sun. -email:

  2. Peace Pipe Says:

    I could go on reading more and more of Victor’s article if if went on and on. It is not only interesting and revealing but exposes the real motives of those involved in this fiasco such as sneaky J Sami and comrade FN.

    I am starting to belive that the charter was brought in to save the ig’s asses since the culprits couldn’t justify the corruption and governance claims they said were reasons for their execution of the coup. Secondly it was a decoy to prolong their existence in govt as they are now flagging it as the precondition for a return to democracy. So while it is not being accepted it provides an excuse to stay on. Another exit stategy behind the charter is that if it is accepted it would indemnify their involvement in the crime of treason havingh the mandate of the people through the charter. I am still wondering why it is called the “peoples” charter. When it is not being produced or endorsed by the people. When I say people I mean the people of the whole of Fiji.

    Lastly I like the word V Lal used “Unbridled opportunism” as the main catalyst of all the coups. It couldn’t be further from the truth as it is being played out before our very eyes all the opportunists taking a ride on the gravy train. The whole shabang lot of them are exactly what it is. No one is doing for the love of the country.

  3. Groggymaster Says:

    Those judges remaining on the bench are tying themselves up in knots as to the legal status of their offices. If they maintain that the constitution is still in force, then the extra constitutional appointments to the bench post 2006 are illegal, and the IG is illegal, and all the post Dec 2006 promulgations by the IG through the Presidents Office are illegal too.

  4. Say True! Says:

    THERE IS NO LAW IN FIJI – as Evan Hannah says.

  5. Save the Sheep Says:

    All very nice but could Victor’s article be posted separately please as it spoils the debate on the Cameron Issue.

    The Cameron Issue is very interesting as it now reveals clearly and once and for all that it is not just Frank who reacts to opposition with intimidation and bullying.

    The Military do this as a primary Modus Operandi. For the A.G.’s Office and the Judiciary in General resort to similar tactics is crass to say the least.

    The interim A.G.and the members of the Judiciary who back this whole facade are an absolute disgrace to the Legal Profession which in general can be pretty disgraceful in any case.

  6. Bloggertracker Says:

    By the way, aside from Dr Cameron, the Fiji Human Rights Commission in its report has also recommended that Victor Lal be charged with contempt of court when he arrives in Fiji – for allegedly, with Cameron, for insulting the judiciary

  7. Mossad Says:

    The supporters of the Thugs charters are getting caught in their own web of deceipt………The Thugs charter will not see the light of day.

  8. natewaprince Says:

    The former deputy speaker of parliament was given a long jail term for taking an oath in an ”illegal” government.The presiding judge made it a point of telling him off that he should have known better considering he was a lawyer and knew the illegalality of his actions.He took an oath while taking up the post of AG and minister for Justice.

    Just as those usurpers were taken to task, Slack-arse, Pryde and all these mother-f*****s have to be jailed along with the pig and all his illegal regime.

    What was done in 2000 and 2006 is exactly the same,therefore the punishment meted out in 2000 should also apply to these wankers,no matter what their exuse.A coup is a coup is a coup is a coup……..!!!!

  9. Budhau Says:

    Natewaprince – “what was done in 2000 and 2006 is exactly the same”

    No it ain’t.

    In 2000 we had a failed coup – the thugs at parliament should have been dealth with as hostage takers – and when things calmed down – the power should have been returned to the legitimate authorities.

    The 2006 is a success, the IG is in control – where you call it legal or not – they are the defacto government.

    So cut out the crap about what is legal and what is not – help figure out where do we go from here.

    We either get a democratically elected government some time soon- or we push this guys into abrogating the constitution, getting rid of these judges and we will have a Burma like military rule.

    This Bloggertracker dude – is he Victor Lal himself posting in here.

    SV – please don’t post such heavy duty legal crap in here – we like the nice juicy gossip type stuff – and thing new on the Chodro Kid.

  10. soro Says:

    NP kerekere me dola na katuba lailai – the smell is here again !

  11. natewaprince Says:

    Bud you mother f****r,who the hell are you to tell me what to say and what not to say.You keep your f****n Indian opinions to yourself and mind your own business,you bastard.

    What I meant was that they are both illegal and both lots of usurpers should be equally punished.You may think they have succeeded so far but all these assholes including your papa Chodo will pay.

    So you can take your crap and shove it.Don’t act like you have a monopoly on knowledge and information ,you bloddy coolie asshole.

  12. Adi Kaila Says:

    sosomaka sara vua NP – na tamata qori na tamata ulukau – seqai oti na full moon Thursday 19.6.08 – bai yavavala mai na dau ni va’tavevelo.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: