31 May 2017

Claim Nauru Chief Justice plagiarised judgement

6:59 pm on 31 May 2017

The Nauru Justice Minister, David Adeang, has told parliament he is investigating an allegation of plagiarism against the acting Chief Justice.

Judge Mohammed Khan is accused of using large sections of a article written by Australian barrister, Stephen Lawrence, called "Abuse of Process - Judicial Enforcement of Fundamental Values and Principles".

Judge Khan is alleged to have used large swathes of Mr Lawrence's article in a judicial decision he made in 2015, without any attribution as to the source of the material.

The Parliament building in Nauru.

The parliament building in Nauru. Photo: Supplied/ @ChrisTrott

Mr Lawrence, who is one of five lawyers defending 18 people in Nauru charged by the state over an anti-government protest, wrote the article as an educational tool for lawyers in 2012, updating it in 2015.

The barrister has told Mr Adeang plagiarism raises serious ethical issues in any context.

But he said when it occurs in the written reasons for a judicial decision it also undermines public confidence and may create appeal grounds for the unsuccessful party.

Mr Adeang told Parliament on Tuesday, in response to a question about the allegation of plagiarism, that it was being investigated.

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