Monday, May 25, 2009

Lets Show Support for the Fiji Lawyers & The Fiji Law Society

Read details of discussion between ABC's Campbell Cooney & One of Fiji's Famous & seasoned Lawyer, Richard Naidu.

For those that do not know Richard, His mum is a Kiwi (Pakeha) & his Dad is an Indo Fijian from Fiji.

Richard has experienced 'Army & Police' rough handling during Rabuka's coup in 1987 and just recently got taken up to the Military camp for further interrogations last week as reliable 'coconut wireless' tells us.

Its only fair that we stand by these Fiji Lawyers and tell their stories of how they have been (mis) treated in their homeland Fiji.

Shame on Bainimarama & his Military Regime for the actions they are doing.

From ABC Australia Broadcasting Commission

Presenter: Campbell Cooney, Pacific correspondent
Speaker: Dorsami Naidu, President of the Fiji Law Society

Listen: Windows Media
NAIDU: The Law Society has been deregulated in the sense that all lawyers do not have to join the Law Society. It's made voluntary now. And the other one is that we are no longer the authority who issues practising certificates to lawyers. It is now issued by the chief registrar.

COONEY: Where did you get your information about this from?

NAIDU: Oh, this I got from a fellow lawyers that had a copy of the decree.

COONEY: When did this happen?

NAIDU: We are told that this decree came into force on the 22nd, but we only came to know of it on Saturday the 23rd, when the chief registrar in the company of a dozen or so people went up to the Law Society secretary and demanded that she hand over files which contained complaints against lawyers.

COONEY: They confiscated them? Did they have a search warrant, did they have a warrant to remove these papers?

NAIDU: No, they didn't have anything and I talked to the chief registrar. I said look, there is still, that may be the law. It's like somebody has killed somebody, that person should be put into jail for life straight away, but there is a procedure to be followed. And I told her we don't have a search warrant and also we don't have a copy of the decree and let's leave it to Monday since it was about 5 o'clock or just after 5 pm on Saturday. She said 'I am not interested in listening and this is the decree and I have got authority and if she does not hand over the key I will be arrest her and take it from there'. So I didn't want to put the secretary in a position of jeopardy, so I asked her that is the case, send the keys, but do not assist them in getting the files or locating it, so they basically went into the law offices - society offices by force - and took away the file.

COONEY: What does this mean for the status of Fiji's lawyers and legal practitioners, barristers and the like as we speak?

NAIDU: At the moment, I am also told that our practising certificates which are supposed to last us till January or the end of this year will now expire on the 30th of June and we are required to apply for new by the 15th of this month.

COONEY: Have you inquired beforehand, that something like this might happen?

NAIDU: Yes, we did, we did and we were told that it's definitely on the cards because we had also made certain statements that the attorney general, had because of his actions been part of the coup since December 2006, had committed an offence and we were also had complaints against him which we were going to look into and I think this is the thing that if the complaint mechanism which exists within the Law Society because it has been a slow process to justify their having control of the Law Society.

COONEY: There's statements this week that the reappointment of the chief justice and some judges to Fiji's High Court last week means that the courts will get back into action this coming week. How is this going to affect that?

NAIDU: Well, at the moment, our practising certificates are still in place till the 15th of June I am told, so within that period, if lawyers decide to appear in the courts that should not affect them.

COONEY: Mr Naidu, do you have concerns that when you have to reapply for a licence, that there are many lawyers who may not get one or that the conditions will change drastically before being able to get a practising certificate?

NAIDU: Well, I can't answer that at this moment. It seems to be a distraction of the chief registrar, so if they do decide to place conditions, we will have to wait and see how the thing unfolds in the next couple of weeks.

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