28 Apr 2003

The striking off of the deputy speaker of Fiji's parliament described as legal history

8:20 am on 28 April 2003

The decision to ban the deputy speaker of the Fiji parliament from practising law because of his involvement in the coup of 2000 has been described as legal history.

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

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

The lawyer who carried out the prosecution before the Law Society's Disciplinary Tribunal, Graham Leung, says it sends a signal that lawyers are officers of the court and must not engage in criminal activity.

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

That case will resume early next month.