7 Apr 2009

Legality of 2006 coup in Fiji continues in court today

8:00 am on 7 April 2009

In Fiji, a lawyer representing the State on the legality of the 2006 coup says the President had the powers to make decisions outside the Constitution.

Fiji Live online says Richard Gordon QC argued this yesterday on the first day of hearings into an appeal against a ruling that legalised the appointment of Fiji's interim government.

Mr Gordon focused his submissions on the President's powers of necessity, the crux of last year's High Court ruling in favour of the interim government appointed after the 2006 military takeover.

He said the powers of necessity President Ratu Josefa Iloilo used when giving legality to the military-proposed interim government was common law.

He added that in the case of a monarch, he or she had the powers to decide if parliament or the prime minister could be relieved of their duties.

Meanwhile, the lawyer representing the ousted prime minister Laisenia Qarase, who is appealing against last year's ruling, Bratt Walker argued that the President did not have the powers to appoint an interim administration, and, that Mr Qarase was still Prime Minister as he had not resigned as stated in the Constitution.

The hearing continues this morning.