12 Oct 2007

Fiji Law Society offers support for two senior judges

11:44 am on 12 October 2007

The Fiji Law Society has expressed its full support for two judges whom the police commissioner had wanted disqualified from hearing any cases involving the military.

The two judges are Justice Gerard Winter, before whom the former navy commander Francis Kean is on trial for murder, and Justice Filimoni Jitoko.

On Wednesday Kean had asked through his lawyer, Abhay Singh, that Justice Winter disqualify himself from hearing the case.

He supported his affidavit with a letter from Police Commissioner Esala Teleni to the secretary for justice saying that the two judges were biased against the military.

The Fiji Law Society president, Isireli Fa, says they agree with Justice Winter's decision not to disqualify himself and his call for an investigation into how a confidential letter written by the police commissioner had reached the accused.

Mr Fa says the Law Society has full confidence in Justice Winter and Justice Jitoko in carrying out their judicial duties in accordance with their oaths of office.

Mr Fa says the court is concerned that Commodore Teleni's letter has been used in a manner which could pervert the course of justice.

Mr Fa says the Society would question lawyer Abhay Singh on how he obtained the letter to support the move to remove Justice Winter from hearing Kean's case.

The Fiji Sun newspaper says the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions has confirmed it is considering a complaint by Justice Winter.