16 Oct 2007

Fiji lawyers hope coup case won't run close to election

6:29 pm on 16 October 2007

The Fiji lawyers representing Laisenia Qarase are hoping his legal challenge to his ousting won't run too close to any election.

Lawyers for the two sides have failed to agree on the issues to be decided by the court and the list of witnesses to be called.

They are now due to meet again at the end of January and the case is set to be heard in early March next year.

Mr Qarase's lawyers in Fiji are hoping that process can be brought forward.

But a professor of law at Auckland University, Bill Hodge, says whenever the case comes to court, it is important a ruling is made:

"I think it would be important for the future of Fiji for the rule of law to be seen to be continuing and for the courts to be seen to be open for such cases, whether one completely agrees with (Mr) Qarase or not, I think it is important for the record, for the constitutional future so that another generation of lawyers can look back and have confidence the courts would hear the most difficult cases."

Auckland University Law Professor, Bill Hodge.