15 Mar 2004

Tonga's Chief Justice Ward appointed president of Fiji Court of Appeal

4:39 pm on 15 March 2004

The Chief Justice of Tonga, Gordon Ward, has been appointed president of the Fiji Court of Appeal.

The Daily Post says this has been confirmed by the chief justice, Daniel Fatiaki.

The president's position has been vacant for almost a year since Justice Jai Ram Reddy left to join the International Criminal Court on Rwanda in April last year.

Justice Fatiaki has also announced that High Court judge Michael Scott will join the Appeal Court.

The Post says Justice Scott's appointment comes despite strong objections from some members of the Fiji Law Society at a recent meeting of Judicial Services Commission.

The newspaper says a number of prominent lawyers questioned the propriety of such a decision saying Justice Scott was very much involved in the attempted abrogation of the 1997 Constitution after the May 2000 coup.

The abrogation was later declared illegal and the constitution ruled still in place by fellow judge Justice Anthony Gates, a ruling which was upheld by the Appeal Court.