20 Nov 2007

Fiji AG castigated by High Court judge in ruling

8:39 pm on 20 November 2007

A Suva High Court judge has harshly criticised Fiji's interim attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, for bringing contempt proceedings against the former vice president of the Fiji Law Society, Tupou Draunidalo.

Radio Legend reports that Justice Roger Coventry ruled that the manner in which the proceedings were brought was irresponsible and appeared to have an ulterior motive.

Justice Coventry also described as startling the manner in which the proceedings were withdrawn without any clear reasons being given.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum brought the contempt charge against Ms Draunidalo in July after she told Australian media that the confidence of Fiji lawyers in the judiciary had been shattered.

In his ruling, Justice Coventry said there was no evidence or even argument before him to show that Ms Draunidalo was doing anything other than exercising her freedom of expression.

He added there was no argument that she went outside the bounds of the constitution.

Justice Coventry has ordered the Attorney General's Chambers to pay Ms Draunidalo 12-thousand US dollars in court costs by December the 11th and that no further proceedings be brought against her for her remarks in May.