6 Aug 2010

Tonga commission of inquiry into judicial interference "waste of time" says MP

10:16 am on 6 August 2010

A Tonga pro-democracy MP says a Royal Commission of Inquiry being set up to clear the government of allegations that it's interfered in the judiciary is a waste of time.

The Privy Council's approval last Friday for the commission to be established follows the resignation of the former Attorney General, John Cauchi, because of what he termed government interference.

Similar allegations surfaced after a decision was made to abolish the independent body that appoints judges, the Judicial Services Commission, and to set up the Office of the Lord Chancellor, an appointment to be made by the King, in its place.

Akilisi Pohiva says there's no guarantee that the commissioners will be impartial.

"It is a waste of time to set up a commission to enquire into that particular area. It is common sense that once we give Privy Council the role of appointing or selecting the judges, that might affect the independence of judiciary. It's not a matter to be debated, it is a fact."