13 Aug 2010

Tonga law society says Government interference obvious

9:45 am on 13 August 2010

Tonga's Law Society has expressed serious concern about the Government's plan for an inquiry into the independence of the judiciary.

The Privy Council, which is dominated by Cabinet, last week announced an inquiry to determine whether the Government interfers in the judiciary.

The Law Society president, Laki Niu, says it doesn't take much imagination to see that the inquiry will find government hasn't attempted unduly to influence the judiciary.

Allegations of government interference emerged in April when attorney-general John Cauchi resigned citing interference by the Government in the judiciary.

The Government has since moved to abolish the independent Judicial Services Commission.

Laki Niu says an inquiry isn't necessary to know that the Cauchi resignation and the decision not to renew the contract for Chief Justice Anthony Ford were the results of government attempts to influence the judiciary.