1 May 2007

Lawyers for ousted Fiji PM seek safety assurances

1:36 pm on 1 May 2007

Lawyers for the deposed Fiji prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, have told the Suva High Court that they have sought assurances for their safety from the interim administration during the forthcoming litigation challenging the December military takeover.

The Fijilive news website says the presiding judge, Chief Justice Anthony Gates, was informed of this by lawyer Tevita Fa who is representing Mr Qarase and other senior members of his ousted government.

Mr Fa said their legal team is headed by an Australian Queens Counsel who has sought assurances for his security.

He told the court that letters raising their concerns have been sent to the ministry of home affairs and they are waiting for a reply.

Justice Gates said the state had on previous occasions provided security for lawyers and he expects the same done for foreign lawyers involved in this litigation.

Justice Gates has also raised his concern that the trial could be delayed by the number of disputed facts arising from Mr Qarase's affidavit.

He has given lawyers from both sides time to deal with the disputes following which the case will be heard again on June the 11th.