World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Fresh Legal Challenge Delays Speight Treason Trial

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 Wansolwara Online: http://www.usp.ac.fj/journ/docs/news/index.html Have your say: http://www.TheGuestBook.com/vgbook/109497.gbook

Fresh Legal Challenge Delays Speight Treason Trial

http://www.usp.ac.fj/journ/docs/news/wansolnews/wansol2408018.html

By LATU MATOTO, RUTH ROSS and JOE YAYA: August 24, 2001 Wansolwara Online (USP)

SUVA: Fiji coup frontman George Speight’s treason trial could now be heard early next year after the prosecution today questioned the case judge, Justice Peter Surnam, claiming he was over the retirement age of 65 under the 1997 Constitution.

In an interview on Fiji TV, the prosecuting lawyer for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) said there was a conflict between the 1997 Constitution and a decree passed in August last year moving the retirement age to 70.

"The Constitution limits the age of puisne judges to 65 but last August a judicial decree was passed which extended the age to 70," Deputy Public Prosecutor Peter Ridgeway said.

"The Chandrika Prasad case restored the 1997 constitution and in that case there is a conflict between the decree and the constitution and since Justice Surnam is over 65, it is necessary to resolve this."

However, Justice Surnam said his appointment as acting judge was made by decree by President Josefa Iloilo and the Supreme Court would have to decide on whether he could hear the case.

He adjourning the case to a later date.

"So when that’s resolved, we can then continue where we left off," Ridgeway said.

Meanwhile, the High Court in Lautoka today ordered the removal of the 10 percent value added tax (VAT) from essential food items, effective from September 1, 2001.

Justice Anthony Gates ruled in favour of a case filed by the Fiji Labour Party which claimed the reimposition of VAT items by the caretaker government was illegal.

Justice Gates added that the caretaker government should have been made up of members of the elected Parliament after the Fiji Court of Appeal validated the 1997 Constitution, and that the appointment of caretaker Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase and his government was unlawful.

The High Court advised the new incoming government to review all decrees made by unelected governments since 1987.

Dr Ganesh Chand, Minister for National Planning, Local Government, Housing and Environment in the deposed government, told Fiji One News the FLP was happy about the ruling.

"We knew the decree was unjust and unconstitutional and illegal, and the benefits of this will go to the poor people."

On the eve of elections, caretaker Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase has come under fire from landowners in his village in Lau for allegedly forcing them to renew a lease reportedly mortgaged to the Fiji Development Bank.

Radio Fiji reported that the landowners from Mavana village claimed they had been deprived of their land for more than 30 years because of the mortgage arrangement to the bank.

The landowners were forced to resort to borrowing land from the neighbouring Mualevu village in order to farm for their livelihood.

The landowners want the land returned to them because they have no land to farm.

Qarase is also being criticised by one of his Assistant Ministers, Adi Finau Tabukaucoro, who claims the SDL party and Qarase are telling voters that the affirmative action "blueprint" for indigenous people's development and other initiatives undertaken by the interim caretaker government are those of the SDL.

However, Qarase rebutted the claim on Fiji One, saying the blueprint was part of his party's manifesto.

"The blueprint was written by me without using any tax payers' money. I wrote it during my own spare time and now it has become part of government policy," he said.

The elections office has confirmed that 5000 officials will take part in the week-long polling which begins at 7am tomorrow (Saturday).

+++niuswire

This document is for educational and research use only. Recipients should seek permission from the copyright source before reprinting. PASIFIK NIUS service is provided by the niusedita via the Journalism Program, University of the South Pacific. Please acknowledge Pasifik Nius: journ@usp.ac.fj http://www.usp.ac.fj/journ/nius/index.html

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 


Myanmar: UN Condemns Escalating Violence In Deadliest Day Of Protests So Far

In response to the killing of at least 18 protesters demonstrating against Myanmar’s military coup, the UN human rights office (OHCHR) on Sunday together with the UN chief, strongly condemned the “escalating violence” and called for an immediate end to the use of force... More>>

Syria: Economic Decline, Rising Hunger And Surging Humanitarian Needs

Syria’s fragile economy has “suffered multiple shocks” over the past 18 months, with its currency plummeting and joblessness swelling as people struggle to cover their basic needs, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator told the Security Council ... More>>

OECD: Final Quarter Of 2020 Shows Continued Recovery In G20 International Merchandise Trade

G20 international merchandise trade continued to rebound in the fourth quarter of 2020 ( exports up 7.2% and imports up 6.8%), following the sharp falls seen in the first half of 2020, as lockdown measures affected trade globally. Although growth ... More>>


Focus On: UN SDGs


UNFCCC: Greater Climate Ambition Urged As Initial NDC Synthesis Report Is Published

UN Climate Change today published the Initial NDC Synthesis Report, showing nations must redouble efforts and submit stronger, more ambitious national climate action plans in 2021 if they’re to achieve the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rise by 2°C—ideally 1.5°C—by the end of the century... More>>


2021: Critical Year To ‘reset Our Relationship With Nature’ – UN Chief

During this time of “crisis and fragility”, the UN chief told the United Nations Environment Assembly on Monday that human well-being and prosperity can be vastly improved by prioritizing nature-based solutions. Painting a picture of the turmoil ... More>>


Paris Agreement: UN Secretary-General António Guterres To Mark U.S. Reentry With Envoy For Climate John Kerry

Watch live at webtv.un.org UN Secretary-General António Guterres will join U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John F. Kerry at an event marking the United States’ reentry into the Paris Agreement this Friday. The discussion with the Secretary-General ... More>>