2 Oct 2007

Fiji interim attorney-general accuses critic of using aid money for legal challenge

10:53 am on 2 October 2007

Fiji's interim attorney general has accused the Suva-based NGO, the Pacific Centre for Public Integrity, of using aid money provided by Australia and New Zealand to mount frivolous legal cases against the interim administration.

This follows an application by the NGO's director, Angie Heffernan, in the High Court seeking to overturn a stay order issued in June by Justice John Byrne sitting as a judge of the Fiji Court of Appeal

Ms Heffernan's application names Justice John Byrne, the acting chief justice Anthony Gates, and the interim attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khayum, as the respondents.

Ms Heffernan is seeking a High Court order seeking to quash the Appeal Court ruling and to prevent Justice Byrne from presiding over cases involving her.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum says seeking a High Court order against a superior appellate court is a blatant abuse of the court process.

He says it is another attempt by Ms Heffernan to seek media attention and justify the large sums of money given to her by foreign governments.

But Ms Heffernan says no foreign money is being used in the case as an Australian lawyer is providing his services for free.