23 Jan 2007

Fiji suspended chief justice banned from leaving the country

11:11 am on 23 January 2007

Fiji's suspended chief justice, Daniel Fatiaki, has been banned from leaving the country.

Fiji TV reports that this follows a directive from the interim prime minister's office.

Mr Fatiaki has been sent on indefinite leave pending investigations into allegations that he helped draft decrees during the 2000 Speight coup.

Mr Fatiaki had been nominated to attend international meetings of judges in Karachi, Pakinstan, and in Perth, Western Australia, later this month.

The ban on Mr Fatiaki's travel abroad was placed a week after he was suspended and reinforced in response to an appeal from the acting chief registrar, Aisea Butukoro.

The head of the prime minister's office, Pramesh Chand, has told Mr Butukoro to direct any further queries to the acting chief justice, Justice Anthony Gates.

Mr Chand says Justice Gates would be best placed to decide who should represent Fiji at the two conferences.

Meanwhile, Mr Fatiaki says he will challenge his removal from office through the courts.