Bloggers, you decide who gave them the ‘real deal’ about the state of Fiji’s judiciary. As Island Boy aptly puts it – it’s class vs. ass
A JUDICIARY that turns a blind eye to the rape of the tenets of democracy and the rule of law is unworthy of respect, Suva lawyer Graham Leung told a law conference in Malaysia.
Speaking at the 21st LawAsia Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Mr Leung, a vice president of the association, listed events and circumstances that have happened since the takeover of Dec 5, 2006.
“Fiji’s Parliament has been suspended since December 2006,” he said. “The democratically elected government has been removed. Fiji is ruled by a military backed regime.
“The fiction continues to be perpetrated that the Constitution is intact, this despite the fact that the head of the military simultaneously purports to arrogate to himself the powers of so-called ‘interim’ Prime Minister.
“The reality is that it is in a state of de facto suspension. The media is under constant scrutiny and practices self censorship to a degree.
“Two newspaper publishers were summarily deported without recourse to judicial redress.
“A mission of the IBA was prevented from visiting to undertake an audit of the rule of law, the Attorney General taking the view the ‘timing’ of the mission was not right.
“Fiji’s chief justice has been under suspension for close to two years. Six judges of the Court of Appeal resigned in 2007.
“In these circumstances there is a more onerous burden on the judiciary to ensure further assaults on the rule of law are resisted.”
“A judiciary which turns a blind eye to the rape of the tenents of democracy and the rule of law is unworthy of respect.”
Suva lawyer Graham Leung has on a number of occasions while abroad, presented selective matters which gives a distorted view of Fiji’s judiciary, says interim Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
Sayed-Khaiyum told the gathering at the Lawasia Conference in Malaysia last week that the ‘gloom and doom’ picture presented by Leung was far from the truth.
He said Leung was not candid, selective in his analysis and not upfront when presenting his views on the Fiji judiciary.
He said Leung failed to declare that he was counsel on record for the suspended Chief Justice in the Tribunal or that he was counsel for prominent persons charged for corruption by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC).
Sayed-Khaiyum said the selective use of information were manipulated to support his jaundiced views.
He said Leung sought to portray Fiji in an extremely negative light and in particular pointed out that Fiji had a dysfunctional and compromised judiciary.
“The LawAsia fact finding mission including the EU fact finding mission did not find any interference with the judiciary by the Executive following the appointment of the interim Government by His Excellency our President.
“This very important fact was not revealed to the conference by Graham Leung,” he said.
The interim AG added it was most unfortunate that Leung through his selective analysis of the Takiveikata and Vakalalabure’s cases sought to question and undermine the integrity of Justice Shameem, Justice Gates and the current bench.
“Leung failed to mention the highly professional persons who had been recently appointed to the High Court and the Court of Appeal,” he said.