12 Jun 2007

Fiji Appeal Court judge out of line - academic

2:23 pm on 12 June 2007

A Fiji academic based at Oxford University says it would be rank hypocrisy if the president of the Fiji Court of Appeal, Justice Gordon Ward, does not resign.

Writing in the Fiji Sun, Dr Victor Lal, was commenting on the interim attorney general Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum's call on Justice Ward to resign following disclosures of the contents of a letter he wrote to LAWASIA last month.

Dr Lal says he has obtained a copy of the letter which criticised LAWASIA for publishing a large photograph of the coup leader, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, with its fact-finding mission to Fiji earlier this year.

Dr Lal says Justice Ward also criticises the president of LAWASIA, Mah Weng Kwai, saying he had already taken the view that there was legitimacy in the interim military government.

Citing a ruling by Justice Fieldsend on the role of judges after the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in Rhodesia by the Ian Smith regime, Dr Lal says in revolutionary situations the courts must carry on to protect the fabric of society, instead of quietly attempting to bring down the revolutionary government.

He says it seems Justice Ward has jumped the legal gun even before the test cases have come before the High Court and the Fiji Court of Appeal.