26 Apr 2003

Fiji's deputy Speaker disbarred for professional misconduct

8:29 am on 26 April 2003

The deputy Speaker of Fiji's parliament, Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure, has been banned from practising law.

The Fiji Law Society struck off Ratu Rakuita's name from the register of barristers and solicitors, saying he had been guilty of professional misconduct when he was sworn in as attorney general in George Speight's failed administration after the May 2000 coup.

The society's disciplinary committee said Ratu Rakuita should have provided legal advice to those who had committed an unlawful act.

It said Ratu Rakuita's explanation of his actions showed a serious lack of understanding of the rule of law and his role as a solicitor of the Fiji High Court.

Ratu Rakuita has also been charged in court with one count of taking an unlawful oath to commit a capital offence and one count of engaging in a seditious enterprise.

That case will resume early next month.