4 Jul 2005

Fiji Law Society to take action over controversial bill

7:24 pm on 4 July 2005

The Fiji Law Society says unless the government strikes out the amnesty provisions in its controversial Reconciliation and Unity bill, it will continue with planned legal action.

The society's president, Graham Leung, says if the legislation is passed, they will take the government to court over the amnesty provisions because they allow an amnesty commission to free coup convicts acting out of political convictions.

Mr Leung says this would undermine the courts by reversing their decisions and it would also hamper the work of the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

"It's essentially those provisions that deal with amnesty. We take the view that this draft bill, in parts of it, purports to interfere, however, unintentional with the powers of the DPP, and the parts also that facilitate the reversal of the decisions of the criminal courts as far as coup convictions are concerned."

Mr Leung says he's hoping to meet the Attorney General this week to offer assistance from the Law Society to amend the bill before it's presented again in parliament.