20 May 2003

Former Vanuatu leader taking further legal over ban from Parliament

6:28 pm on 20 May 2003

Vanuatu's former prime minister, Barak Sope is filing a constitutional petition with the Supreme court after losing his appeal over being banned from Parliament.

In December Mr Sope unsuccessfully tried to resume his seat in Parliament after being pardoned on fraud charges.

He had been jailed for three years but served just three months before receiving the Presidential pardon.

The former leader then took legal action over the ban saying the pardon quashed his conviction.

But the chief justice, Vincent Lunabeck, ruled that the pardon did not have any legal effect on the convictions and the ban applied.

That ban has now been upheld, but Mr Sope has told electoral officials they should not organise a by-election in his former seat until his constitutional petition has been heard.