11 May 2005

Fiji's former deputy speaker launches appeal against his dismissal from parliament

7:11 am on 11 May 2005

The jailed former deputy speaker of Fiji's parliament, Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure, is challenging his dismissal from parliament in the Suva High Court.

The Speaker, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, declared Vakalalabure's seat vacant after he had missed two consecutive sessions of parliament following his jailing for six years for taking an illegal oath to join George Speight's failed administration during the coup.

Radio Legend reports that Vakalalabure's lawyers have made their submissions on why he should not have been dismissed before Justice Filimoni Jitoko.

They claim the Speaker erred in his decision to dismiss him when his appeal against conviction is yet to be heard.

State lawyers have argued that the High Court should strike out Vakalalabure's application.

Justice Jitoko will give his ruling on notice.

Meanwhile, the Fiji Elections Office is going ahead with preparations to hold a by-election in July to fill Vakalalabure's Cakaudrove West Fijian seat.