4 May 2005

DPP's email on case before Fiji court

9:39 am on 4 May 2005

Revelations about an email circulated by Fiji's director of public prosecutions, Josaia Naigulevu, has led to a call for him and his representatives to step down from a case currently before the courts.

The appeal before the Lautoka High Court is by a Fiji national and an Australian citizen against their recent two-year jail sentence after being convicted of engaging in homosexual sex.

In his email, shown on Fiji TV last night, Mr Naigulevu calls on the recipients to "take a visible and vocal stand against homosexuality."

The email says "the prospect of legalising homosexuality in Fiji is no longer remote" because of international and domestic pressure.

Mr Naigulevu's email says "the challenge is to take a stand for righteousness and declare and uphold God's precepts, values and principles."

Appeal lawyer, Natasha Khan, says the email clearly indicates that the DPP is dealing with the matter on issues other than the law and the facts.

She says the email is an attempt to influence the outcome of the appeal and therefore an attack on the judiciary.

Ms Khan says she will ask the High Court to disbar Mr Naigulevu and his representatives from the appeal case.

Mr Naigulevu says the email was to members of his church group and it is unfortunate that his private beliefs are being manipulated in the case before the court.

Fiji's attorney general, Qoriniasi Bale, told local radio this morning he welcomed and supported the views expressed in Mr Naigulevu's e-mail.