France's Bar Council has come to the defence of French Polynesia's pro-independence leader Oscar Temaru in a case involving the public prosecutor in Tahiti.
While Temaru's appeal was still pending, Herve Leroy opened a new investigation into the payment of Temaru's lawyers.
The move shocked one of his lawyers, Thibault Millet, who said it amounted to a massive violation of the right to a defence to interrogate lawyers in an ongoing case.
The French Bar Council said in a statement that such a move seriously violated professional secrecy and the rights of the defence.
Last September, Temaru was given a suspended six-month prison sentence over funding arrangements for Radio Tefana, a community broadcaster in Faaa.
Temaru was convicted for exercising undue influence but the case is being appealed, with the defence saying the prosecution failed to cite a single incident of propaganda.
After the Faaa council agreed to cover Temaru's legal costs, a fresh police probe was started this year, alleging that this amounted to an abuse of public funds.
His lawyers were being investigated for benefiting from the alleged abuse of public funds.
Leroy then ordered the seizure of Temaru's savings.