26 Feb 2003

Fiji court rejects legal aid for US citizen facing extradition

11:14 am on 26 February 2003

The Suva high court has rejected an application by an American for legal aid funded by the Fiji government to fight his extradition to the US.

Reginald Lyndon is wanted in the US to fight charges of importing nearly 9 tonnes of marijuana.

He is facing three counts each of conspiracy to import marijuana, conspiracy to distribute marijuana and criminal forfeiture.

Lyndon had filed an appeal against an earlier decision of the Legal Aid Commission to reject his application because he said he should be treated equally under Fiji's 1997 constitution.

Justice Singh said this case concerned whether rules which deny legal aid to foreigners were in breach of the constitutional provisions for equality.

He dismissed the application, saying Fiji's impoverished citizens could not be expected to pay for Lyndon's defence.