23 May 2003

Fiji speaker gets stay order in banning dispute with Law Society

6:46 am on 23 May 2003

The Fiji Court of Appeal has granted a stay order on the lifetime ban from practising law imposed on the deputy speaker of parliament, Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure.

The Fiji Law Society struck off Ratu Rakuita's name from the register of barristers and solicitors earlier this month for gross misconduct in agreeing to be sworn in as the attorney general in George Speight's failed administration a day after the May 2000 coup.

The Law Society's disciplinary committee said Ratu Rakuita's explanation of his actions showed a serious lack of understanding of the rule of law.

The stay order means that the ban on Ratu Rakuita remains on hold until his appeal is heard.

The Appeal Court has given him 14 days to file relevant papers.

Ratu Rakuita is also facing court charges of taking an illegal oath to commit a capital offence and engaging in a seditious enterprise.

He will appear in court next month to answer this charge along with the vice-president, Ratu Jope Seniloli, sports minister Isireli Leweniqila and three others who were sworn in as part of Speight's administration.