12 Sep 2007

Fiji court refuses Shameem request to intervene in ousted PM's case

3:27 pm on 12 September 2007

The Suva High Court has refused a request by the director of the Fiji Human rights Commission, Dr Shaista Shameem, to intervene in the case brought by the deposed prime minister, Laisenia Qarase.

Radio Legend reports that in their ruling today, the acting chief justice, Anthony Gates, and Justice John Byrne said the application was declined as the primary parties in the case were not uninformed litigants seeking to have abuses of human rights addressed.

The judges said both sides were persons of stature with access to expertise and senior counsel to present their case, and intervention was not required.

However, the Fiji Human Rights Commission will remain as a neutral party in the case to assist the court where necessary,

The High Court judges also ordered that the counter action filed against Mr Qarase by the defendants where the state is seeking ten declarations be consolidated with the case and be dealt with at the same time as they are inter-related.

The judges declined the application by Mr Qarase's lawyer to have the trial date postponed.

Meanwhile, Dr Shameem raised concern with the judges about the affidavit from the official secretary to the President, Rupeni Naceva, and whether it could be used in court.

She said the information which Mr Naceva is privy to must be classified as executive privilege as he had access to confidential information and conversations that the president had.

The two judges said the actions of the president are now before the court and Dr Shameem must discuss the issue with the other parties before the court decides on it.

The case will come up for mention on September 24th with the actual trial set to begin on October the 2nd.