11 Jun 2007

Fiji court says Qarase is free to travel

3:46 pm on 11 June 2007

Fiji's acting chief justice, Anthony Gates, has ordered the military and the interim administration not to interfere with the deposed prime minister Laisenia Qarase's freedom to travel.

Justice Gates gave the ruling at the request of Mr Qarase's lawyer, Tevita Fa, who sought a court order despite assurances from the authorities that the Pubic Emergency Regulations were lifted at the beginning of this month.

Justice Gates said unfortunately it happens all too often in Fiji that when the restraints are lifted, it is still embraced by ill-informed officers and others with extra zeal.

Justice Gates said these are not normal times in Fiji and verbal orders may be ignored.

Radio Legend reports that Justice Gates also revealed that Mr Qarase is seeking legal declarations on a large number of constitutional issues including the removal of his government.

Justice Gates told Mr Fa and the state lawyer, Chris Pryde, that they must specify the issues they want the courts to decide on which if not narrowed down, would take months to determine.

Mr Pryde called for the case to be struck out saying it was not brought through proper High Court procedures.

The state lawyer also said they would provide evidence that the SDL government breached the Electoral Act to come into power, carried out unlawful activities to gain votes, that the SDL government was corrupt and interfered in the judiciary.

Justice Gates will make a ruling on the application to strike out the case on June 22nd.