4 Sep 2007

Six remaining expatriate judges of Fiji Appeal Court resign their warrants

8:42 am on 4 September 2007

The six remaining expatriate judges of the Fiji Court of Appeal have resigned.

The Fiji Times reports that in a statement, Justice Sir Thomas Eichelbaum says all six have cited concerns about how the acting chief justice, Anthony Gates, is handling matters by taking the administration of the court out of their hands.

The other expatriate judges are Justice Ian Barker, Justice Tony Ford, Justice Bruce McPherson, Justice Peter Penlington and Justice Robert Smellie.

Justice Eichelbaum says Justice Anthony Gates had not consulted them about the session of the Appeal Court held last week and had not had the courtesy to ask about their availability.

Nor had Justice Gates taken up the offer by the Appeal Court's senior judge to arrange a session in November when the next scheduled sitting was due to take place.

Justice Eichelbaum says it was apparent to the judges that their services were no longer required and they decided to resign.

He says the judges regretted that a connection they all valued should end in this way.

Justice Gates says the Court of Appeal will continue as it always has though individual judges may change.

Justices John Byrne, Isikeli Mataitoka and Devendra Pathik presided over last week's session of the Appeal Court.