7 Apr 2005

Setback for Fiji officials seeking to evict jailed MP from seat

10:15 am on 7 April 2005

The Speaker of Fiji's parliament, the attorney general and the supervisor of elections have suffered a setback in a case brought against them by the jailed former deputy speaker, Ratu Rakuita Vakalabure.

Radio Legend reports that High Court judge, Justice Filimone Jitoko, has rejected an application by the three, to strike out the case brought by Vakalalabure.

Vakalalabure has filed a legal challenge against the Speaker's decision last December to dismiss him from parliament and declare his Cakaudrove West seat vacant.

The supervisor of elections, Epeli Rabuka, has made preparations to hold a by-election to fill the seat.

Vakalabure's dismissal followed his missing two consecutive sessions of parliament after his jailing for six years, for taking an illegal oath to commit a capital offence, by being sworn in as the attorney general, in George Speight's failed administration during the coup.

Vakalabure maintains that he should retain his parliamentary seat because he's filed an appeal against his conviction and sentence.

Justice Jitoko has given the defendants until May the Fifth to file their submissions after which Vakalalabure will have a week to respond.