4 Jul 2015

Detained Nauru MPs want Supreme Court to hear their case

5:29 pm on 4 July 2015

Two opposition MPs on Nauru want the Supreme Court to rule on their right to a lawyer of their choice, after their Australian lawyer was refused a visa to enter the country.

Former Nauru president Sprent Dabwido

Former Nauru president Sprent Dabwido Photo: supplied

Squire Jeremiah and Sprent Dabwido remain in the island's prison after they were arrested for their alleged role in fomenting a protest outside parliament two weeks ago.

The pair were again denied bail when they appeared in court on Thursday, but the reasons why remain unclear.

They had no legal representation because their counsel, Australian lawyer Jay Williams, has been refused a visa.

Mr Jeremiah told the court that the director of legal aid would not provide alternative legal representation.

The prosecution told the magistrate the two MPs could not simply reapply for bail, but had to establish new facts and circumstances had arisen since they were last denied bail.

It said this would need to be accompanied by written documents setting out their arguments.

The magistrate, Emma Garo, rejected the prosecution's call for Mr Dabwido and Mr Jeremiah to have family members prepare the documents, saying unrepresented defendants could not be expected to know what documents were needed.

Although Ms Garo said she would accept a verbal bail application, the defendants said they were unable to make an application without legal representation.

They told the court they want the Supreme Court to rule on their right to choose a lawyer and also to consider whether the charges brought against them were unconstitutional.

The case has been adjourned until the 10th of July and they will remain in custody until then at least.