16 Feb 2010

Concerns raised in Fiji over lack of legal representation for people facing charges

4:02 pm on 16 February 2010

The acting president of the Fiji Court of Appeal has raised concerns about a lack of representation for some accused people.

The Fiji Time reports that in a recent decision by the Court of Appeal, Justice John Byrne said the problem occurred largely for economic reasons, and because the legal aid system has limited resources and staff.

Justice Byrne said judges know how difficult it is to maintain a fair trial when the accused is unrepresented, particularly in a serious charge like murder.

He made the comments in the case of a father who was jailed for 10 counts of rape of his daughter.

The man was unrepresented.