22 Jan 2014

Sacked magistrate says Nauru does not want an 'open court'

2:38 pm on 22 January 2014

The resident magistrate deported from Nauru says the government appears to want a closed court ahead of pending asylum seekers' cases.

The government says it dismissed Peter Law because it lost confidence in him, and received complaints against him including about alleged misconduct.

But Mr Law has dismissed those allegations as having no substance.

He says he had been managing asylum seekers' cases, following a riot last July, and had started to set matters down for hearing.

So, it was a disappointment for me - after giving assurances to all the asylum seekers who had come in before the court on various occasions that it would be an open court - that I'd made court orders that their names or identities could not be disclosed but the court would be accountable because journalists or the press would be available to report on the proceedings.

Peter Law says the government's recent hike in the cost of journalists' visa applications to Nauru to 8000 dollars suggests it does not want an open court.