8 May 2007

Row erupts in Fiji over appointment of magistrates

3:31 pm on 8 May 2007

A row has developed between Fiji's interim attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, and the Law Society president, Davnesh Sharman, over the appointment of new magistrates.

The Fiji Sun says Mr Sharma yesterday criticised the appointment of a former military lawyer, Major Ana Rokomokoti, as a magistrate because the courts have not yet dealt with the legitimacy of the appointment of the acting chief justice, Anthony Gates.

The Law Society has questioned that appointment and the continuing appointment of magistrates with Mr Sharma adding that the matter is now before the courts.

But Mr Sayed-Khaiyum has released the minutes of the meeting of the Judicial Services Commission on January 15th this year which appointed Justice Gates, saying Mr Sharma was present at that meeting.

He says the minutes show to the public that Mr Sharma and the others unanimously endorsed Justice Gates' appointment.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum has also called on Mr Sharma to stick to the basic principles of litigation that when any matters are before the courts they are sub judice and not discussed in public.