12 Sep 2007

Fiji Human Rights director seeks to interview witnesses in Qarase High Court case

10:22 am on 12 September 2007

The director of the Fiji Human Rights Commission, Dr Shaista Shameem, has sought to intervene in the case brought by the deposed prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, against the military and its commander.

Radio Legend reports that during the pre-trial conference yesterday, Dr Shameem asked High Court judges Justice Anthony Gates and Justice John Byrne, who will hear the case, for permission to intervene so she can cross-examine some witnesses.

She said Fiji's Human Rights Act allows the commission to intervene in civil matters before the court.

Dr Shameem told the court that she wants to submit another report to the United Nations before the 28th of this month in addition to her previous ones on the events of December the 5th last year which Mr Qarase is challenging.

Both Mr Qarase's lawyer, Tevita Fa, and Commodore Bainimarama's lawyer, Gerard McCoy QC, opposed the application.

Mr McCoy told the court that both the primary parties to the case should be left alone and the Commission should not intervene.

Justices Gates and Byrne will rule today whether Dr Shameem will be allowed to intervene.

The judges have also allowed Mr Fa more time to seek a Queen's Counsel to assist him in Mr Qarase's defence.