26 Jun 2015

Odds stacked against Nauru MPs, says former Chief Justice

8:10 pm on 26 June 2015

Nauru's former chief justice says three opposition MPs facing criminal proceedings will have the odds stacked against them in court.

Sprent Dabwido, Squire Jeremiah and Mathew Batsiua were arrested and charged following protests at parliament last week, which the government has dubbed a riot.

Geoffrey Eames resigned as chief justice last year after the government controversially withdrew his visa and barred him from returning to the country.

He says the judicial system on the island is deficient and is unlikely to provide the opposition MPs a fair trial as they won't have a qualified lawyer.

"All of these complex and difficult actions, now including a range of criminal proceedings, are pretty all being represented by one person who's known as a pleader and he's an extremely intelligent and helpful advocate, but he's not a trained lawyer and he's being pitted against trained lawyers in complex law and the government is just stacking the odds against them."

The President, Baron Waqa, says the MPs were ringleaders in a violent protest aimed at toppling a democratically elected government, and says there will be due process and fair hearings in court.

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