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Fiji High Court Avoids Constitutional Questions

USP Pacific Journalism Online: http://www.usp.ac.fj/journ/ USP Pasifik Nius: http://www.usp.ac.fj/journ/nius/index.html USP Pasifik Nius stories on Scoop (NZ): http://www.scoop.co.nz/international.htm Have your say: http://www.TheGuestBook.com/vgbook/109497.gbook

FIJI'S HIGHEST COURT NEITHER ACCEPTS NOR REJECTS ABROGATION OF CONSTITUTION

* See earlier reports online: http://www.usp.ac.fj/journ/docs/news/nius3092shoot.html

SUVA: The highest court in Fiji has declined to be drawn into the debate of the validity of the abrogation of the country's supreme law, the 1997 Constitution, Pacnews reports.

President of the Fiji Court of Appeal Sir Maurice Casey said in a statement released in Suva today that the court can only refuse to accept the legality of such acts as the abrogation of the constitution after hearing arguments in an open court.

"The Fiji Court of Appeal is sitting to help maintain the rule of law in the country and any legal argument will be accepted," Sir Maurice said.

"In doing so, the Court of Appeal should not be taken as accepting or endorsing the legality of official acts that have occurred since the court last sat."

First to welcome Sir Maurice's clarification on the Fiji Court of Appeal's stand was the president of the Fiji Law Society, Chen Young, saying the court was careful in wording its address on the 1997 Constitution.

"The judiciary made the right move and should always remain independent and not compromise in any form or way," Young told national radio. "Appeal judges must be consistent with the character of independency," Young added.

+++niuswire

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