8 May 2007

Fiji Law Society at odds with attorney general

6:31 pm on 8 May 2007

The President of the Fiji Law Society, Davnesh Sharma, is objecting to the interim Attorney General's decision to release minutes of the meeting of the Judicial Services Committee that appointed the acting Chief Justice.

The Law Society has objected to the appointment of new magistrates while a case has yet to be heard questioning the makeup of the Committee, or JSC.

Mr Sharma says the minutes have been released to malign:

"I feel that the person that is releasing the minutes is acting in a very misconceived manner, because that is not the issue before the court. We are not saying that the meeting didn't take place, or that there were minutes of the meeting or that recommendations were made. What we are saying is that the three persons who were present at the meeting, was one person entitled to be there?"

Mr Sharma says he has no idea what process was used to secure the release of the minutes, and he has raised concern about the separation of the judiciary and the interim government.

But the Attorney General has been defending his move.

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says Mr Sharma's criticisms couldn't go unanswered and he had gained permission from the minister and the chairman of the meeting to release the minutes:

So the reason why those minutes have been released, legally and properly is to clear the water so that the people of Fiji are aware. We need the confidence of the public to continue to ensure that the continuation of the administration of justice takes place.

The interim Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum,