The Fiji Times were reluctant to publish this letter

—— Forwarded Message
From: Charlie Charters
Date: Mon, 10 Nov 2008 21:34:40 +0000
To: “editor@fijitimes.com.fj” <editor@fijitimes.com.fj>
Subject: AMENDED Letter to be Published
I would be grateful if you could publish this letter which is supportive of the Fiji Times’ position in this contempt of court case.

From Charlie Charters
North Yorkshire, UK

Contempt of Court

The last person in Fiji convicted of criminal contempt of court was the former Interim Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry, according to an intriguing article in 2004 by Justice Nazhat Shameem.

She recounts how Chaudhry signed his name to a Labour Party pamphlet that made wide-ranging but non-specific allegations of corruption in the local judicial system. The contents were subsequently published in the Daily Post under the heading Judiciary Corrupt.

Chaudhry said it was commonly held that ‘many’ judicial officers were corrupt, ‘some’ lawyers acted as receiving agents for local magistrates and a ‘number’ of lawyers were deliberately shopping their cases to favourable courts.

When he was making these allegations, Chaudhry was a significant political figure, popular with the media, with a national media platform and in control of a slick political machine. He was not an individual letter writer from Queensland that nobody seems to have heard of, or whose opinions anybody had considered, before the Attorney-General chose to draw attention to them.

Chaudhry was convicted in 1998 (by then-Justice Fatiaki) and, as punishment for this criminal contempt of court, was given a five hundred dollar fine.

The lady justice makes the point that the Chaudhry case was unusual in that it reflected well on the High Court, and the legal arguments and conviction were subsequently upheld by the Court of Appeal.

Anybody reading Justice Shameem’s article in Legal Lali (available by download from http://www.ag.gov.fj) would come to the quick conclusion that Fiji has a pretty rackety, even farcical history of prosecutions for criminal contempt.

Rather than enhancing its reputation, a review of case history in the matter shows the judiciary more often than not brought itself into even further disrepute, and public confidence in its independence and competence was increasingly diminished.

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19 Responses to “The Fiji Times were reluctant to publish this letter”

  1. Isalei Says:

    Vinaka Charlie for your timely reminders.
    Now we see how the court and judiciary is playing its own micky mouse game thru the acts of these judges. Here we go round the mulberry bush..
    “Contempt of court” is a term that has outlived its utility, a cliche in the kind of Judiciary we now have.
    And certain judges themselves are responsible for its demise.
    Another nail in the coffin of the IG.
    Hope the letter finds its way to the mainstream media, Fiji Sun?

  2. ex Fiji Tourist Says:

    chodopu$$ is also infamous for being the only Prime Minister of Fiji who had a criminal record for manslaughter.

    Contempt of court! – you have to have a legally appointed court in place before you can be in contempt.

    The whole world holds injustice gates and his 2 stooges in contempt.

    Talking about contempt, have a read of this from raw fiji news.

    Teleni receives $1/4 million for refusing to investigate junta
    November 16, 2008
    Our well placed sources at Colonial Bank of Fiji say that Fiji military police commish, Esala Teleni has received $250,000 in his bank account for refusing to investigate Qarase’s SDL party police complaint for treason charges against Frank, Teleni and other coup instigators. When asked about the originating source of funds, these sources say that it was a cash deposit transaction made at one of its Suva branch with no narration to identify where it came from. But we were reliably informed that the pay-out was a sweetner paid to Teleni’s personal account for his role in upholding Frank and his advisors wishes to stop all investigations relating to Frank and others pre and post coup.

    Esala Teleni has been very instrumental in ordering the unlawful bash-up and detainment of innocent individuals like Ballu Khan and his extended family, journalist Imraz Ikbal, his father and business associates, and some other people chosen at randon to frighten off those who might be considering revolting against the junta.

    Teleni is said to have paid 1/10th of that money to his brother’s New Methodist church which the military is now using as their spiritual springboard to fight the popular main-stream Methodist Church denomination that has about 200,000 followers, most of whom are believed to be SDL supporters.

    And sources from the SDL camp say they are ready to take their treasonous complaint to court following Teleni’s defiance not to investigate the matter as told to him by Aiyaz Khaiyum and his court Judges advisors.

  3. Isalei Says:

    Wow, can someone call FICAC or Reserve bank (??) and tell them to investigate where the $$ in Telechubby’s personal a/c came from?Surely this must call for some investigation – we all know he has no money in the first place??? Who deposited? where did the come from? Cash??? Must be ga some rich benefactors who really do not want Qarase and his qoliqoli bill back?

  4. freedomfighter Says:

    The media is too frightened and exhibiting all signs of cowardice now, so dont rely on them – someone has to lodge a private complaint, at great risk but it will be rewarded in the long run

  5. freedomfighter Says:

    Piss off:

    Fiji Police warns against public statements
    Monday, November 17, 2008

    Taken from / By: Google
    Police Commissioner Commodore Esala Teleni is warning the public against making public statements.

    The caution comes after two newspaper companies were taken to court for publishing a letter criticizing the Qarase vs Bainimarama case.

    Teleni says whatever the court says must be followed and held in reverence.

    “I have warned the public from time to time that we must respect law and order. We must respect the court. Police will respect the decision of the court.”

    Meanwhile Teleni says if they see fit any action to take against those involved in the detention of millionaire businessman Ballu Khan they will do so.

    He says they will respect the courts decision.

    His comments come after the Appeals Court struck out Khan’s case and stated that the detention of Ballu Khan after the December 2006 coup was illegal and unconstitutional and a breach of Khan’s rights.

  6. Frida Says:

    Can we use international media links to publicise Fiji teletubby’s bank account increse in balance overnight to quarter million. I am sure if we get the ABC, NZ One and BBC it will come back to Fiji for all to see.

  7. Save the Sheep Says:

    Yawn, just more of the same as the big pig and his little piglets get their snouts right into the trough……

  8. Budhau Says:

    The rawfijishit is at it again – has anyone else tried to verify where these guys got their information from – about the $250K.
    ..and that letter on Contempt – whats the big deal about that. The paper written by Shameem is on the internet. The fact that Chaudary was charged and convicted is common knowledge.

    Actually a few years prior to that, a NFP parliamentarian and lawyer, Vijay Parmanadam in on of the speeches was critical of the judiciary and the practice by the Alliance government of how it promoted folks to judges and magistrates – they nailed Parmanadam to the wall for that – Contempt of Court, initially a six months jail term that was reduced to three months on appeal.

    So this Judiciary thing has been around for a long time – it ain’t nothing new. There were allegations that out past two chief justices advised during the past coups.

    Frida – yes that $250K should be publicized by the media – but the responsible media must first verify if this is true.

  9. Snowball Says:

    Guess they must have “inside sources”.

  10. Jese Waqalekaleka Says:

    @ Budhau,

    you are technically incorrect in referring to the ‘past two chief justices’ as there is only one – Sir Timoci Tuivaga. Dan Fatiaki is still the substantive Chief Justice currently being suspended with no action taken against him for over 12 months.

    As for these allegations you refer to, Sir Timoci has already publicly stated that he alone was responsible for advising the President to dissolve Parliament and Dan Fatiaki was not involved.

    Nazhart and Gates have always maintained that Dan Fatiaki was involved as well, hence the current suspension aided by the guns of Vore.

    I ask you this, if you had to choose between Sir Timoci Tuivaga’s claim that he alone was responsible in advising the President to dissolve Parliament to resolve Fiji’s political impasse and Nazhart and Gate’s claim to the contrary – who would you believe?

    I personally, would believe Sir Timoci Tuivaga.

  11. IslandBoy Says:

    I know we are supposed to listen to the message and not pay overdue attention to the source, but Charlie Charters – NEXT!

  12. LUVfiji Says:

    ‘if you cant beat them, join them’ !!

    Well my dear folks, Im joining up with the iIG. They’re all getting rich overnight. I too would like a house in Muanikua; have $1/4 million in my bank account; get 24-hr Police surveillance at home in addition to my bodyguards; and simply know that I shall live happily ever after.

    I wish you all well in the fight for the right! Do not despair, the big D is on its way!!

  13. Budhau Says:

    Hey JW – let me see if I can convince you to change your mind. .
    First, yes I am wrong in referring to Fatiaki as the former Chief Justice he is the suspended Chief Justice.
    BTW, I will also stop referring to Obama as the president elect Obama, since the Electoral College has not voted for Obama as the President yet – that will happen sometime in December, therefore, technically he is not the president elect.

    Now, so you believe that Tuvaga is telling the truth that Fatiaki had nothing to do with the coup advice and we should not believe Shameem and Gates.

    Well let me refresh your memory – since you were around back then and might have head or read this.

    After the Speight coup, there was a division amongst the judges – on the more pragmatic side (the Shit Happens Legal Doctrine) were Tuivaga, Fatiaki and Scott. On the other side were the constitutionalists, including Gates and the rest of them.
    T
    he three, Tuvaga, Fatiaki and Scott made the argument that the Solicitor General wasn’t the guy who should be advising the President and that they, the three judges should devise a solution that would sack the PM. When this plan was mentioned, one of the Judges at that meeting asked in what would happen if the President’s action was challenged in court. Tuivaga replied that it was for this very reason that only three judges had been involved in preparing the advice – the others were untainted by it and free to hear argument on any subsequent litigation.

    So now do you get it – there were folks at that meeting who know what happened and this is public knowledge.

    BTW – look at the bigger picture – we have never had an independent judiciary – not this time, not before.

  14. Mrs Prince Says:

    Well are the so-called ‘constitutionalist’ judges still adhering to the Constitution given that one of them has convened a JSC without the proper parties present to install an usurper CJ; and what of the other ‘constitutionalist’ that recently allowed a stay on an issue that goes against the provisions of the constitution where elections are concerned…..and lets not forget the ‘major purported constitutionalist’ that declared military intervention pardonable by the President even though the constitution has not been followed in terms of eliminating parliament.

    Bit like calling the kettle black don’t you think……if they cannot practice what they preached in 2000 to uphold the constitution, with the ultra dodgy judgments that they are spewing post-2006, then they shouldn’t be practicing at all!!!! Just abrogate the damn thing…..and then see where their powers lie……..!

  15. Budhau Says:

    Mrs Prince – about politicizing the judiciary, that has always been a problem in Fiji, with the Alliance the SVT Qarase and I guess now.
    However, the decision of the the court during this regime have been based on good law.
    Qarase lost the last case because his attorney’s screwed up. Of coursewhat the military did was unconstitutional – no that is not the as saying that the Presidents actions were unconstitutional.
    The Jitoko injunction was wrong – and any good judge would have given a stay order. I think Justice Gates has done good work in the past and if Qarase and the boys want to get their act together and bring about the right legal action – It is very likely that Gates will rule against the military – the question then is when do they abrogate the constitution.

    BTW – here is a paragraph from a letter written by the Law Society to the Chief Justice back in 2001.
    “Should there remain any hope for the judiciary to credibly regain its independent role, then such a journey to recovery must begin with your resignation and the resignations of those judges who associated themselves with you in your unconstitutional action.”

    Sound just like what we are talking about today – sort of like what goes around, comes around.

  16. Jese Waqalekaleka Says:

    @ Budhau,

    I stand to be corrected, but can you please show me this article that CJ ‘Tuivaga replied that it was for this very reason that only three judges had been involved in preparing the advice.’

    I am aware of the fact, that some Judges including both Judges Michael Scott & Daniel Fatiaki supported the initiative of CJ Tuivaga in drawing up the Administration of Justice Decree and criticised the intervention of the Fiji Law Society, however maintain that only CJ Tuivaga was responsible for drafting the said Decree.

    Who are ‘these other people’ you refer to that knew otherwise because if you are referring to Shamimi and Gates, then I rest my case.

  17. Budhau Says:

    You will find this in the sworn testimony of Shameem and Byrne in the CCF case when they challenged the constitutionality of the interim government.
    The point the CCF lawyers were arguing was that Fatiaki should remove himself from this case – and Fatiaki refused to do so.
    Basically Fatiaki told the CCF lawyers to prove what the allegation was – so what the CCF lawyers did was to get the sworn testimony of two fellow judges. This would have been sufficient to remove any judge form the case, but Fatiaki did quit the case, but not before ruling against the CCF on the matter of disqualifying him – and guess what, he handed the case over to Scott – another alleged member of that trio.

    The FLS was aware of this – remember how the CJ back then banned the members of the FLS council from appearing in his court. There was discussion in the media – folks like Richard Naidu commented on it.
    On matters such as this – it is very difficult to provide “legal proof”.
    At this point you choose to believe Tuivaqa – who admits to giving the advice, who wrote that decree that did away with the supreme court, who changed that retirement age from 70 to 75 – when the dude was almost 70 – I choose not to believe him.
    So here are we talking about a preponderance of evidence, or clear and convincing evidence or beyond reasonable doubt. This is not a criminal case where we are trying to indict Fatiaki.
    So let us leave it at that – you can believe what you want.

  18. Budhau Says:

    Isalei – in Fiji, the rule of law is optional – it has always sbeen like that since independence.

    BTW – I don’t support the coup, I don’t support Qarase or Chaudary or Bainimarama. My credibility is not an issue in here – that is not relevant (isn’t that what that idiot Truth ended with – that I don’t have any credibility because I said that I was paid more than John Sami to post messages in here)

    NOW, on the issue being discussed what do you think – What Jitoko did was bad law, is Qarase playing politics by attacking the judiciary. Was the stay order proper. Did the Qarase’s lawyers screw up in the case against the President.

    These things can be discussed without attacking the person posting the message – unless you just want propaganda in here.

  19. Dauvavana Says:

    did somebody just drove the sewerage truck dalit mobile into here? cripes its only tuesday

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