24 May 2005

Fiji Law Society highlights malpractice

2:19 pm on 24 May 2005

The Fiji Law Society says the number of complaints about malpractice by lawyers has reached epidemic proportions.

The Law Society president, Graham Leung, made the comment as he prepared to prosecute Labasa lawyer Sarju Prasad on four charges of breaching trust fund accounts before a disciplinary committee.

Mr Leung says some lawyers are giving the profession a bad name and the Law Society is determined to discipline lawyers who neglect their professional responsibilities.

He says there is need to restore public confidence in the legal profession which has been badly tarnished.

The former Native Lands Trust Board lawyer, Major Tevita Bukarau, who was jailed for two and a half years earlier this month for consorting with people carrying firearms in parliament during the coup, will also face a Law Society disciplinary committee.

The former deputy speaker of parliament, Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure, who is serving a 6-year jail sentence for coup related offences, has been disbarred from practising law for life.

Fiji's attorney general and minister for justice, Qoriniasi Bale, was also disbarred from practising law in the 1990s.

But when Mr Bale took the matter to the High Court the penalty was reduced to a five-year suspension.