8 Feb 2005

Fiji's jailed former deputy Speaker plans legal action over dismissal from Parliament

9:14 pm on 8 February 2005

The jailed former deputy speaker of Fiji's parliament, Ratu Rakuita Vakalabure, is taking the Speaker, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, and the Elections Office to court.

Radio Legend reports that Vakalalabure is challenging the Speaker's decision to dismiss him from the House of Representatives after he missed two session of the House because he was in jail.

Ratu Epeli declared Vakalalabure's parliamentary seat vacant and informed the Elections Office to make preparations for a by-election.

But Vakalalabure is challenging the Speaker's decision because he says he had informed Ratu Epeli beforehand that he was appealing his conviction and 6-year sentence in the Supreme Court.

Vakalalabure is also asking the court to place a stay order on the by-election for the Cakaudrove-west constituency until the final decision on his appeal is made.

The Elections Office earlier said it was planning a July by-election and all major parties have been talking about contesting it.

Vakalalabure was convicted and jailed for six years for taking an illegal oath to commit a capital offence by being sworn into George Speight's failed administration during the coup.

Of the five other people jailed with him, the former vice president Seniloli and nationalist Viliame Savu have been released.