Fiji’s tainted judiciary

Dictator Bainimarama’s real legal advisors, the bitter, mean sisters of Fiji’s tainted and corrupt judiciary (Nazhat Shameem & Anthony Gates) could very well take a leaf from LEARNED, UNCORRUPTIBLE and WISE judges such as Justice French, Justice Winter, Justice Coventry, Justice Ward and the other honourable judges who had flatly refused to compromise their oaths and swear allegiance to a military junta that had  forcefully thrown out a legitimate goverment elected by the people.
But perhaps, it is a little too late for the bitter, twisted mean sisters as they have skipped, hopped and rolled far too deep into the windy, slippery paths of Alice-in-Wonderland. The drama queens have finally outdone themselves. No amount of charm and ‘jamu’ could ever win them back into the nation’s good graces… for the public’s perception of the two sour grapes have taken deep root already. One of the most telling is Naz’s private audience with the bipolar Pig in her chambers and elsewhere, which did irrepairable harm to the already shaky judiciary.
One thing’s for certain, one of the first tasks to be urgently undertaken by Fiji’s elected and legitimate government is to clean up the judiciary and rid it of these ‘sour grapes’ who have lost the plot. Bubba i-aye-ass and blonde witch-i-wanna-be-ombudsman will follow next.
ANOTHER expatriate judge has denounced Fiji’s military-backed Government for making it impossible for judges to have “judicial effect”.

New Zealand barrister Gerard Winter, who left the Fiji High Court in January, said he would be in breach of his original oath of office if he had accepted a renewed commission from the military-backed regime.

Mr Winter said he “entirely supported” the views of Australia’s incoming chief justice Robert French, who also chose not to renew his commission in Fiji.

“I too would not accept a renewed appointment from the unelected military Government as the risk to the maintenance of the rule of law was too great a price to pay,” Mr Winter said.

Justice French used almost identical words in May when he revealed he would not be accepted a renewed commission in Fiji. “Accepting appointment to the highest court of that country by a military Government, the lawfulness of which is under significant challenge, comes at too high a price,” Justice French had said.

Mr Winter, who was a member of the Fiji High Court before the 2006 military coup, said his decision to leave the court was a personal one. He had reasoned that he had a duty to remain in office after the coup and uphold the rule of law so long as he was confident that his decisions had judicial effect.

“I decided to stay throughout 2007 for as long as I had judicial effect. “I also then decided that I could not renew my warrant in 2008 if the military regime was still in power as to do so would run contrary to my original oath of office,” he said. Mr Winter’s statement comes soon after Victoria’s Legal Services Commissioner Victoria Marles dismissed a complaint against Victorian barrister Jocelynne Scutt for accepting judicial office from Fiji’s military-backed regime.

In a letter published in today’s Legal Affairs section, Ms Marles writes that she did not have authority to determine whether the state’s lawyers were allowed to work “in countries that lack democratic legitimacy”. “My role as Legal Services Commissioner is to investigate complaints about lawyers and I have to do this in accordance with the law,” she writes. “Whether behaviour amounts to misconduct is determined by the legal test for professional misconduct prescribed by the Legal Profession Act 2004 and also by previous cases. “My role is simply to determine whether the facts of any complaint satisfy these tests and whether a disciplinary tribunal is likely to find misconduct. “Conduct which may provoke community disapproval does not necessarily meet these tests,” Ms Marles writes.

When contacted in her chambers in Fiji, Dr Scutt said this week she had nothing to say about the affair.

Mr Winter, who is now a barrister in Wellington, said the military-backed regime had ascribed to itself the power to promulgate “unnecessary but convenient legislation”.

“They have promulgated many convenient laws and regulations to suit their revolutionary cause — including on occasion legislating away the courts’ judgments.

“In so doing, they undermine the rule of law by eroding confidence in the fairness, predictability and transparency of justice,” Mr Winter said.

Many judges in Fiji had been “wrestling with the decision of what their obligation was after a coup”, he said. He felt unable to renew his warrant as a judge because he felt the Government’s actions meant he had “lost judicial effect and the Chief Justice had been removed from office by soldiers”.

Chris Merritt, Legal affairs editor, The Australian | August 15, 2008 


15 Responses to “Fiji’s tainted judiciary”

  1. Say True! Says:

    It’s so tainted it just blends in with the skid marks.

  2. Mark Manning Says:

    Their illegal appointments under an illegal regime , must never be forgotten , especially given the deaths , torture and detaining of so many innocent Fijian Citizens to whom they pledged to protect .

  3. Tracker Says:

    Judicial oath as prescribed in the constitution:

    “I, A.B. , do swear that I will well and truly serve the Republic of the Fiji Islands, in the office of [ ] . I will in all things uphold the Constitution and I will do right to all manner of people in accordance with the laws and usages of the Republic, without fear or favour, affection or ill will [So help me God!] ”

    How sad it is that the judges have forgotten this.

    peace & love

  4. FijiGirl Says:

    Thank you Justice Winter for plainly showing why Scutt’s actions are opportunistic and self-seeking.

    I have to say how sad I am about Justice Shameem. When she first got to the bench, I for one thought she made an excellent judge. And in major cases (which I could be bothered to follow closely) I almost always agreed with her rulings.

    Nazhat used to make ‘the sisterhood’ (women in Fiji) proud to call her one of us. But that isn’t necessarily the case any more. Her once clear sense of judgement is horribly tainted.

    God bless Fiji

  5. newsfiji Says:

    SV – can you compile and publish a list of all the people who have acquired illegal posts from the 5th December coup??

    Let’s name them all, because the time is near when they shall all be behind bars..

    Qori..maleka sara..

  6. LUVfiji Says:

    Could the learned Judge be on his way home soon?

  7. Ablaze Says:

    Newsfiji good idea! Don’t forget father and son! The first choosen PM, whatever his name is and no hoper son of his Manasa Baravilala. Maleka Sara!

    Name and Shame them is the Name of the Game!

  8. Abeche Says:

    SV newsfiji’s suggestion has merits. Suggest that you start with organizations statrting with the letter A, then B, so that none is missed.
    So, the fist would be Airport Fiji Limited – the Board and those appointed by the Board – they are all illegal appoinments and these people should remember, that they took over roles that have been illegally vacatecd, and they must remember that they will be held accountable one day!
    Our Day Will Come!!!

  9. qitawa Says:

    AFL has that Div Darmoda guy from village 6. He doesnt even have any qualifications. AFL chairman should check his qualifications out and report to his line minister. That is the reason he misses out on board meeting and has no contribution at all.

  10. EnufDictatorship Says:

    Thank Heavens we still have some learned and read judges on our law-abiding side.

    So, there\’s still hope bloggers for a bright shining blinding light at the end of this gloomy and hopelessness tunnel. Emeni!

  11. LUVfiji Says:

    Sorry Nadro.. BILI Tailevu!!

  12. Midget gal Says:

    Ka gonei, sa bau yawa dina na vuku (kei na kutu!) tiko vei rau na MEAN sisters qore!!

    Drau rai sobu mada mai, your humongous, shorty asses are just about kissing the ground, dears!!

  13. Tui Says:

    Vinak Nwesfiji, Ihope SV will consider putting out that list. That should give us a good idea of who really benefitted from this coup. Anyway bili tale mada Tailevu!

  14. Adi Kaila Says:

    Midget Gal maybe they suffer from ‘Ducks Disease’ their arse is too close to the ground. qai veitalia se blonde sara vakacava na ului shaista, kuvu tu la na kari.

    Qitawa div dam paid for his way in – money talks, integrity walks. That’s his only way ‘in’

  15. Save the Sheep Says:

    Shouldn’t be difficult to put the list together. An Update of the Fiji Shame List should do it.

    Let us not forget what the likes of Justice Ward and co have gone through, personal intimidation loss of property etc at the hands of the Goons and the 6m dollar question will be who authorised these acts???

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