2006 coup appeal set for March 09

The appeal by members of Fiji’s ousted Government against the High Court ruling that validated the 2006 military takeover will be heard in March next year.

While deliberating on the matter today, Fiji Court of Appeal Judge Justice Ian Lloyd also called on lawyers in the case to argue substantive matters on Thursday. 

Former Attorney General Qoriniasi Bale and Suva lawyer Tevita Fa will represent deposed Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase and others while the State will be represented by the Attorney General’s Office.

The High Court last month found that President Ratu Josefa Iloilo’s actions in appointing an interim Government to replace Qarase’s Government were lawful and valid.

“No one has suggested His Excellence failed to act honestly, impartially, neutrally and what he gauged was in the best interest of the nation; that is, of all of the inhabitants of Fiji, it is not for this court to inquire into the details of his act at that moment on whether one action would have been better done in another way but it is certainly open to conclude his intention were to unify the people of Fiji,” Justice Gates said while delivering the judgment.


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38 Responses to “2006 coup appeal set for March 09”

  1. EnufDictatorship Says:


    “No one has suggested His Excellence failed to act honestly, impartially, neutrally and what he gauged was in the best interest of the nation; that is, of all of the inhabitants of Fiji, it is not for this court to inquire into the details of his act at that moment on whether one action would have been better done in another way but it is certainly open to conclude his intention were to unify the people of Fiji,” Justice Gates said while delivering the judgment.

    If the President had said this to the people of Fiji FACE TO FACE..we would accept it (maybe!) BUT he DIDN’T…and that is the case we, the people have been saying all along..THE PRESIDENT DIDN’T FACE THE PEOPLE, FACE TO FACE TO TELL US THIS HIMSELF..He wasn’t being honest…He was strung along like a PUPPET!!! and a pathetic, lethargic one at that.


  2. Isalei Says:

    Nope, straight after dec 5 06 pressy mahn went on hibernation, from there ga to incarceration in naboro.

  3. Mark Manning Says:

    another point here would be that Frank was already sacked as the commander before the 5th. of December 2006 and was about to be questioned by the Police for sedition and was under investigation for his possible involvement of the murders of 5 CRW Soldiers in 2000 .
    I agree with you Isalei , and Mr. Qarase and team should have focused their case on the fact that the person responsible for instigating the overthrow of the Legitimate Government had no authority to do so and that it was an act of treason . The president’s powers were never in question really , were they ? But his capacity to perform His duties , have been brought into question , but that’s an entirely different matter to what Justice Gates was asked to consider .
    I feel that Mr. Qarase just had some rather bad if not pathetic legal advise on the day !
    Perhaps it’s time for a new approach to the Courts and maybe a challenge in the International courts as well .
    If Frank is sincere about his intentions for Fiji , he will return to barracks with his troops and arrest all those involved in this coup . To continue on the way the I.G. is , will just destroy what is left of Fijian society as you know it .Someone should otherwise , take matters in to their own handsand spell it out for iarse and his mates .

  4. Mark Manning Says:

    It just occurred to me , land will be very cheap in Fiji by March 2009 ! I’d better start saving !

  5. Nostradamus Says:

    One wonders why such important cases take so long. Obiously Voreqe will now use it as an excuse for no election. Did the Prasad case take so long in 2000-2001?

    Lets hope Fa and Bale can get their act together. Part of the problem so far has been incompetence in formulating the case. This enables back door shaisters like Gates and Aye-arse to twist things to and fro with legal technicalities and absolute BS.

  6. Mark Manning Says:

    It’s really up to the people to throw these idiots out .
    But i wonder at the silence of the Indo Fijians , except for a handful , right now , all are suffering financially , except those with their noses in the trough !

  7. Nostradamus Says:

    I think you mean the Indo-Asians, or the Indo Fiji Islanders.
    There are only a few mixed blood people with Fijian father and Indian mother who would qualify as Indo-Fijian.

  8. EnufDictatorship Says:

    All these cases, rulings, etc that originated from the actions and thoughts and beliefs of one man (Vore?) and others pre-and-post Dec 5 2008 till now, brings to mind a part in Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s book, The Caged Virgin (A Muslim Woman’s Cry for Reason, 2006), in which she states, “The experts (definitely excluding Vore) may have good intentions (this he swears he has), but as we all know, (wait for it!)…


    Would you agree? And the saddest thing is, our grassroot citizens are the ones being hard-hit by this road to hell (of good intentions)!

  9. EnufDictatorship Says:

    correction..Dec 5, 2006!!!!!! crap!…see how much we have moved on…yikes!

  10. Budhau Says:

    This is why Qarase will lose the appeal.

    The argument:
    First – was there exceptional circumstances at the time – remember, the military had just overthrown the elected government – does that qualify as exceptional circumstances. (The argument here is not who created the situation or how – all that needs to be established is that there was exceptional circumstances)

    Once it is determine that there was “exceptional circumstances”, the next step is to figure out if the stability of the State was endangered. Here again we have a military overthrow of the government – I do not think there is any argument as to the stability aspect.

    If the above two elements have been satisfied, the IG team will argue that the President had “prerogative powers” i.e., reserved power which is not explicitly provided in the constitution to deal with “exceptional circumstances” that endangers the stability of the state? The Qarase team will argue that the President acted without specific authority of the Constitution and therefore his actions should be declared unlawful/unconstitutional.

    There is no argument that the President has reserve powers, the constitution itself mentions reserves powers.

    Section 109 (1) states:
    The President may not dismiss a Prime Minister unless the Government fails to get or loses the confidence of the House of Representatives and the Prime Minister does not resign or get a dissolution of the Parliament. Where there is no reserve power that may be exercised, the appropriate course for a President is to allow the issue to be determined on the floor of the Parliament.

    The Qarase team will argue that section 109(1) of the constitution limits the exercise of the reserve powers in relation to the dismissing of the PM.
    The IG lawyer will argue that in this case, under the circumstances, there was reserve power that the President could exercise and therefore, the above section is not a limitation on what the President could do.

    The key sentence in the constitution that relates to the dismissing of the PM – “Where there is no reserve power that may be exercised…….”, – this is where the argument will revolve around. The IG will say that in this case, there was reserve power that the President could exercise, the Qarase team will say that there wasn’t.

    The court will then look at the surrounding and preceding factual circumstances which confronted the President and I think the court will decide in favour of the President.

    DISCLAIMER: I am just making a legal point. This should, in no way, be construed as an endorsement of the Interim Government.

  11. Nostradamus Says:

    In other words the military can cause instability, including taking over the police force, and then brainwash the president into dismissing the PM and appointing them because ot the instability they themselves have created. Let us see if the court has any common sense. Forget the legal technicalities for the moment. Obiously if anything in the Constitution allows such an incestuous thing to take place, then the Constitution needs to be ammended (by Parliament). There is also a difference, is there not, in dismissing a PM and dismissing a Parliament.

  12. Budhau Says:

    Nostradamus – I totally agree with you that what the military did was unconstitutional and wrong – causing the emergency with the instability and then overthrowing the democratically elected government. If Qarase had asked the court to adjudicate on that issue, it is very likely that Qarase would have prevailed.

    However, Qarase’s lawyers did not ask the court to make that declaration.
    What you are now saying is that the court, as a matter of public policy, should have decided in Qarase’s favour.

    Usually in such cases, one would first argue facts – whether there was a emergency, or that instability endangered the state or that Qarase was really still in power etc. Here, the facts are fairly straightforward – and Qarase’s lawyers did not dispute that.

    You then argue law – and as a matter of law, the IG has a better case because the scope of this case was so narrow – it only addresses the question of prerogative powers of the President.

    If you don’t have the facts or the law on your side – you then argue public policy. Hey Judge, this really is bad for the country, anyone with any common sense knows that.

    I hope Bale and Fa make compelling public policy argument. BTW I did not see any discussion from Qarase side as to what the President should have done instead, if there were some reasonable alternatives available to the President, that may be considered. However, I don’t think the court would want to second guess the President’s actions.

    Bainimarama had already overthrown the Qarase government, he had already appointed a PM before he handed back the executive power to the President. The controversy here is what the President did after he got the power back – that is, he ratified what Bainimarama had already done.
    At that stage of the game, I do not think the President had too many options.

    You see, the argument in court is almost always about law – or as you put it “technicalities” – and in this matter, the IG would prevail.

    The discussion in this forum should focus on WTF Qarase is doing.

    I think the people of Fiji have become sick of courts and court cases. It is time to stop this shit and get on with our lives. What if Qarase wins this case or that other one with Jitoko – nothing is going to change. This is just like when Chaudary was running around with his lawsuit after the last election. At a certain point, people just become frustrated – it is called litigation fatigue. No one here seems to believe that the courts will protect our rights, so why is Qarase even bothering with this. What does he get by attacking the judiciary, we already know what the Fijian’s perception of the judiciary is.
    There is no legal solution for our problems; we have to find a political solution. The sooner Qarase figures that out, the better for everyone involved.

  13. FijiGirl Says:

    One thing that PM Qarase MUST do is to hire the BEST legal minds in Fiji. He can’t afford – face it, the entire country cannot afford – to gamble this result in the hands of the best legal minds in SDL because, with all due respect, they aren’t don’t make the grade.

    PM Qarase should get Everett Leung, Jon Apted, Richard Naidu, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, Tupou Draunidalo, Imrana Jalal, Prof Victor Lal and CJ Daniel Fatiaki to act as advisors for his case.

    We, because on this case rests the fate of us all, cannot entrust this to Q Bale, T Fa and the usual cast of near-enough-is-good-enough lunchtime lawyers. We need sharp minds, strategic thinking, focussed purpose and killer instincts.

    Please Mr PM – get the BEST lawyers we have, not just the lawyers closest to you.
    God bless Fiji

  14. Dauvavana Says:

    well why don’t we all put our money where our mouth is and arrange with SV at their website to donate to them or maybe directly to SDL so they can use it to hire the best lawyers?

    any suggestions?????

  15. Jese Waqalekaleka Says:

    @ Duavanavana,

    whu don’t we ask Qarase to hire Buhau instead?

    He ‘talks the talk, now let us see, whether he can walk the walk?’

    Se kuca?

  16. Dauvavana Says:

    JW I have been aptly amused by the ongoing legal debates by two
    master-debators (you and our neighbourhood dalit Buda), maybe you two could team up and do some legal work for Qarase pro bono………for the sake of the Nation!!!

    Nanumi Viti…………….keirau kei Naita IB qai neirau ga na PR

  17. Dauvavana Says:

    JW I have been aptly amused by the ongoing legal debates by two
    master(de)bators; you and our neighbourhood dalit Buda.

    Maybe you two could team up and do some pro bono legal work for Qarase ………for the sake of the Nation!!!

    Drau qai bau Nanumi Viti…………….keirau kei Naita IB qai neirau ga na PR

  18. ispy Says:

    Budhau, my friend at SDL said this appeal was not about returning to power but more about correcting bad law.

    FijiGirl, both Mr Bale and Mr Fa have each provided an invaluable contribution/service to this country since before you were born.

    The arrogance with you dismiss that fact by labelling them “near enough is good enough” is astounding.

    I personally know lawyer you named on your list and I’m pretty sure none of them would share your views.

    But please, this is a free forum, feel free to criticise to your heart’s content.

  19. Dauvavana Says:

    haaare wah this site is now playing tricks on me, I hope they not hack into my komoviuda………….run a way now!!

  20. Mark Manning Says:

    The law is an ass and can be taken out of text and interpreted in many different ways to suit ones own agenda or argument . how good you are in Court at putting a spin on a given argument at a given time , often determines whether you will succeed or not .

  21. ispy Says:

    Budhau, my friend at SDL said this appeal was not about returning to power but more about correcting bad law.

    FijiGirl, both Mr Bale and Mr Fa have each provided an invaluable contribution/service to this country since before you were born.

    The arrogance with which you dismiss that fact by labelling them “near enough is good enough” is astounding.

    I personally know all the lawyers you named on your list and I’m pretty sure none of them would share your views.

    But please, this is a free forum, feel free to criticise to your heart’s content.

  22. LUVfiji Says:

    Oh dear!

  23. kaiveicoco Says:

    I am always impressed with your legal technical arguments.Which law school did you attend?I am no laywer but sometimes I cut and paste your arguments during grog sessions.
    Qarase has been saying all along that the problems we face need political solutions.The problem is that Frank does not appear to think that way or he is buying into that argument.All those threats that Frank was firing away to Qarase and the SDL prior to their December 5th take over were they political in nature ?

  24. ispy Says:

    That’s a good point Kaiveicoco.

    Why didn’t Frank want to negotiate a political solution back in October – November 2006?

    Ans: Because he was determined to overthrow LQ no matter what.

    This is why the military appeared confused for the first few days immediately following the coup – fact is they hadn’t planned that far ahead.

    (BTW SV please delete my comment @ 18. I had corrected it @ 21)

  25. Budhau Says:

    Frank is not here to find a solution – he IS the problem.
    Now, once we have that one figured out – are we going to get a court to find a solution for our problem, or are we going to to find a military solution to this by getting a militia or some foreign soldiers take on the army or are we going to find a political solution to this problem – ease out Frank, get an election going and then solve the bigger problem – that is putting a independent judiciary in place, down sizing the army and getting a culture going that does not believe in coup’s.
    I think Qarase, Fatiaki, some other chiefs and the Fijian elite – have all contributed to this problem.

    Ipsy..that appeal trying to correct a bad law – wrong. All Qarase was doing was to get the bragging rights – by prevailing in that case. It wasn’t gonna solve anything. The head of state will always have reserve powers – you just can not legislate every scenario as to what may happen and how the President can respond.

    Also.. the screw up by Qarase’s lawyers have little to do with substantive law – they messed up procedurally and that is how they lost.

  26. FijiGirl Says:

    @ ispy. Good and valid points, and I do apologise if I have bruised any ego’s in my observation, but I do not apologise for the observation.

    A court of law is one of the few places where you either win, or you lose. And the proof of the pudding is there for all to see. The first case was lost by T.Fa and his team of counsel. One could argue that this is because the regime has ‘loaded’ the courts in their favour, but in postsight the case as it was put forward was not as solid as it SHOULD have been, as it NEEDED to be, to win. This is not about preserving ego’s or pussy-footing about sensitivities. This is about winning.

    God bless Fiji

  27. ispy Says:

    Budhau, ‘bragging rights’ – now you’re thinking like an Indian (and thinking that everyone thinks like that too).

    Mahendra would probably appeal for such a reason but not LQ. The man is above that – have you ever seen him brag about anything on TV?

    FijiGirl, I share your concerns about the appeal and your views on the mistakes made in the High Court. SDL could have should have made a better case.

    But alot of us took our bearings from the judgment without stopping to think whether its recollection of the arguments presented were accurate.

    I for one have serious reservations on this.

    Like everyone else, I watched the trial on TV and was stunned when Pathik openly declared his bias at the beginning of the trial when he asked this question on Mr Perram – “what did you expect him (President) to do, the country had already gone to the dogs?”.

    Both Gates and Byrne no doubt shared Pathik’s views, they were just clever enough not to say it out loud because it had not yet been established.

    Under such circumstances, it is unlikley any alternate strategy, however ingenious, would have worked.

    If SDL had come up with an even better strategy, the three judges would have come up with an even more ridiculous ruling in order to justify their appointments.

    But that’s just my view.

    Vinaka FijiGirl for your comments.

  28. ispy Says:

    Remember the driving force behind the judgment is not “justice”, it’s “self-preservation”.

  29. Budhau Says:

    Ipsy – that “thinking like an Indian” remark – its doesn’t take you buggers that long to show your true colours.

    You see when Chaudary took the case to court, that wasn’t because he was an Indian and when Qarase decides to appeal or drop the appeal, it isn’t because he is a Fijian, and when those local Qarase lawyers screw up the case – it ain’t because they are “dumbass Fijians”. BTW – when do you think those American would start complaining about Obama’s “nigger like” thinking if this economy does not get any better. Or refer to him as the “house Negro”.
    I thought a decent eduction usually takes care of this racist crap – I guess that ain’t true.

    Now…having said that, let us get away from the level that you are trying to drag down this discussion to.
    Let us compare the two – Chaudary and Qarase litigation. In Chaudary’s case, we had a government that most of us believed would follow the rule of law. So when Chaudary went to the court he believed that the courts decision, if it was in his favour, would remedy the injury that he was complaining about. It is true that he might have bragged about the victory but that was not the main reason to go to court. In Chaudary’s case when there was a court victory Qarase had to either do what Chaudary was asking for or find a “legal” way around it. That is not the same this time around.

    In Qarase’s case, he knows that a court victory will not remedy the injury. No matter what the court decides, military will not give up power. It will either find a legal way out and if that is not available they will abrogate the constitution. So what is Qarase looking for in a victory besides bragging rights.
    Ipsy – the other day you said this case was not about Qarase getting back into power, but it was about changing some bad laws. Honey, generally, the laws are changed by the legislature, not by the judiciary – the judiciary usually interprets laws. (yes I am aware of case law). So Qarase should have changed the law when he could have or he better wait unless the elections. BTW – what law was your friend talking about.

    Oh, and that question by Pathik – “what did you expect him (President) to do, the country had already gone to the dogs?” – “going to the dogs” – I think that remark showed a bias towards the military, not towards Qarase.
    I had brought this up a few days ago – that Qarase team did not discuss any alternative that the President may have had – “the going to the dogs” remark referred to the time when the military had already overthrown the government, they had sent Qarase packing, they had complete control of the country. What do you suggest the President should have done?

    Fijigirl – about those lawyers – cases like this cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. You think Qarase can afford to come up with that kinda money. When he hired lawyers to fight Chaudary, you and I – the taxpayers paid the bills, Now we pay Bainimara’s bills. Chaudary went to raise money abroad, how much have you guys at SV come up with for Qarase. I think it is kerekere time for Qarase. Kerekere only works with some Fijian lawyers – those who either really believe in his cause and there may be a few of those, or those who either made money working for the government before and expect to make money when Qarase gets back in power and then there are those Ipsy types who are scared of the Indians and feel a need to help out. I am sure Kerekere ain’t gonna with the QC types and neither would it work with Fiji’s “best and the brightest” – the ones that you mentioned. What is that saying about “beggars can’t can’t be….”

    BTW Ipsy….Bainimarama and the President’smside did not win – Qarase’s team lost the case – and they lost on procedural matters and ended up not addressing the real substantive law issues.

  30. rainbow Says:

    Well said Budhau!

  31. anon Says:

    Rainbow drau pamu ga vata kei Bud…

  32. FijiGirl Says:

    Budhau – You actually raise a good point about the cost of The Best lawyers.

    But perhaps you also underestimate the extent to which REAL officers of the Court, who respect the rule of law, HATE this illegal regime.

    We’re pretty creative in Fiji – financial arrangements can always be worked out which meet FLS guidelines and allow our best legal minds to do their bit to oust the parasites.

    God bless Fiji

  33. Jese Waqalekaleka Says:

    Hey guys including Budhau,

    remember what Justice Hughes of the US Supreme Court said:

    ‘We live under a Constitution, but the Constitution is what the Judges say it is.’

    FYI, Gates could not have ruled in favour of Qarase. If he did, then his very appointment becomes unlawful and he has no authority to hear and adjudicate in the first place.

    Gates, will never rule in favour of Qarase because he knows his ass is on the line. Judges makes law all the time and this is what they are doing in Fiji today.

  34. Truth Says:

    Has someone make mention of Laisenia Qarase taking on board Jon Jon and Graham Leung and even Richard Naidu the lot should team up and fight for the LQ case since LQ’s win translates to a win for the country’s democracy. LQ has to approach them Since this is a fight the nation am sure they can offer their services at reduced to pro bono.

  35. Truth Says:

    Sa rauta na vamalumalumu tiko. It’s time to bring out the big guns because we want the country to move forward.

  36. Budhau Says:

    Yeah, bring out the big guns – you don’t get that by Kerekere – the big guns are for HIRE – you idiot.
    To do pro bono work, you have to believe in the cause. Haven’t you idiots realized that there ain’t too many people left in Fiji who believe in Qarase’s cause – expect those who have lost their privileges due to the overthrow of this government.
    As for fighting for the country – I think Leung, Naidu and others are doing their share – some very publicly and others behind the scene.
    BTW – Truth, did these lawyers do pro bono work the last time a democratically elected government was overthrown.
    Boy you are an idiot.

  37. 666coups Says:

    Bula NP,
    Qai email mai Ratu. It’s, 666coupsters@comcast.net.
    Loloma and Godbless,

  38. orion Says:

    The answer to all these lies outside the court system. Qarase must not use the courts as has been said so many times from long ago. The odds are stacked unfairly against him no matter what people say. He is basically using the same approach which resulted in him being thrown out when he was in office when he had alot of power at his disposal. Do you honestly think he stands a chance now that he is ouside it?

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