7 Apr 2014

Fiji constitution will trump any decree in court - lawyer

7:12 pm on 7 April 2014

A Fiji telecommunications lawyer says the public will have constitutional redress through the courts if their phones or internet are monitored in the lead-up to the election.

Section 63 of the Electoral Decree says any person is prohibited from communicating political messages by telephone, internet, email, social media or other electronic means 48 hours before polling opens.

But Salanieta Tamanikaiwaimaro of the IT company, Pasifika Nexus, says the constitution and international covenants will triumph over any decree in court.

She says while there is the capability for surveillance, that evidence being admissable in court is unlikely.

"The police can only enforce if complaints have been brought to them. Evidence can only be extracted from either individuals, or by internet service providers, or any network providers or telcos. And there are already express provisions within Fiji laws by way of extraction of that evidence."

A Fiji telecommunications lawyer, Salanieta Tamanikaiwaimaro.