1 May 2003

Fiji's deputy speaker of parliament says Law Society hearing was unfair

4:20 pm on 1 May 2003

Fiji's deputy speaker of parliament says he did not receive his tribunal hearing was unfair because of an orchestrated public campaign against him which may have influenced the judges.

Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure says he was publicly condemned before and during the hearing by the Law Society which saw him disbarred for life from practicing law.

The Law Society struck him off the register of barristers and solicitors after its disciplinary tribunal found him guilty of professional misconduct for his role in the 2000 coup.

Ratu Rakuita was sworn in as attorney general in George Speight's failed administration.

Ratu Rakuita says he should have been judged by indigenous lawyers.

"I strongly believe there was an orchestrated media campaign against me. It just hasn't been done fairly. I was part of a political event related to the ethnic structure of this country. The least the Law Society could have done was put a panel of peers who are indigenous lawyers. They didn't. I don't think they took the effort to find indigenous lawyers to judge me."

Ratu Rakuita will appear in court next week over charges of engaging in a seditious enterprise and for taking an unlawful oath to commit a capital offence.