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Regime's Lawyer Wants Parliament Reconvened

Regime's Lawyer, Blake, Wants Parliament Reconvened
Issue No: 619 22 March 2001

The Qarase regime's lawyer has called for the reconvening of the Parliament of Fiji.

Nicholas Blake of the Matrix Chambers, whom the regime had hired to fight its appeal against the decision of Justice Anthony Gates validating the 1997 Constitution, says that it would be a credit to the regime if the Parliament was reconvened.

In an article he wrote on 1 March on the Matrix Chamber's website, Blake stated that the "litigation has ended with excellent prospects of a return to legitimate democracy, a recall of Parliament and fresh elections with the support of the military, and the ethnic Fijian political parties. If this transpires it would be a remarkable result."

The statement makes it clear that Blake was expecting a reconvening of the Parliament if their side lost the case. He also was under the impression that the regime will allow the reconvening of the Parliament when it gave him its assurance of abiding by the court decision.

Blake further stated that the "extra-constitutional abrogation of a constitution" by the regime now "has been reversed by litigation".

While taking the credit for the process of litigation, Blake acknowledged that the prospects of the regime winning the case were bleak. He wrote: "Most importantly, faced with the prospect of their arguments not succeeding, the interim Prime Minister authorised me as the State's barrister to inform the Court that its judgment would be accepted and that if the appeal was dismissed it would use its best endeavours to return Fiji to constitutional legality once more."

Defending against massive international criticism of his involvement with a repressive regime, Blake stated that it was a right of the regime to engage lawyers. He also stated that it was a credit to the Qarase regime to submit "to be bound by the rules of civilised discourse". He denied that he was paid a 6-figure sum.

The regime has now revealed that the bill submitted by the three overseas lawyers is about $230,000.

Blake was criticised internationally for arguing in the Court that might is right.

END


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