22 Nov 2007

Fiji's suspended chief justice makes first moves to stop tribunal from investigating him

4:09 pm on 22 November 2007

Fiji's suspended chief justice, Daniel Fatiaki, has taken the preliminary step to stop the work of the international tribunal which will hear charges against him.

His lawyer, Jon Apted, has asked the Suva High Court for leave to add the names of the three senior overseas judges to his client's constitutional redress case against the president and key figures in the interim administration.

Mr Apted says if leave is granted, they will seek an injunction to stop the tribunal from proceeding with its hearings until the High Court case is decided.

He said he could not make the application earlier because the names of members of the tribunal were not available until this week.

Justice Devendra Pathik has given Mr Apted and lawyers for the state time to file all relevant papers and adjourned the case until Thursday of next week.

In his legal case, Mr Fatiaki is challenging his suspension from January this year, the composition of the Judicial Services Commission, the appointment of Justice Anthony Gates as acting chief justice and all judicial appointments made by the commission since then.

Meanwhile, the tribunal appointed to consider the allegations against him will hold its preliminary hearing on Monday.

President Iloilo has appointed Justice Robert James Ellicott, a former solicitor general and attorney general of Australia and a former judge of the Federal Court of Australia, to chair the tribunal to hear the charges.

Justice Raymond Sears, a judge of the High Court of Hong Kong, and Tan Sri Datuk Dr Lal Chand Vohra, a former judge of the High Court of Malaysia, are the other members of the tribunal.