Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Court probe misplaced: Party

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua Party has criticised the timing of the inquiry into the Magistrates courts saying the priority and focus should be on the next general election and the tribunal into suspended Chief Justice Daniel Fatiaki.

SDL national director, Peceli Kinivuwai said the commission of inquiry into the magistrates court was a smoke screen.

"Why are they focusing on the magistrates court when we have a national crisis on our hands? The inquiry should be left to the next elected Government to do. Take us to the elections. It's stirring up confusion.

"The chief justice's case had not started but they're doing the magistrate's court inquiry. They're lighting all their candles all at once. It would be wise if they complete one and start another, like Justice Fatiaki's case first," Mr. Kinivuwai said.

Interim Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said it was misleading to link the tribunal that would look into concerns and allegations against Justice Fatiaki with the commission of inquiry into the Magistrate's court.

"The (Justice Fatiaki) tribunal will be announced as soon as hearing dates have been set. The hearing dates will be set as soon as possible as it tries to find a suitable time. It is a matter of urgency," Mr. Sayed-Khaiyum said.

"There are two separate issues. One is on an individual who has been suspended. The second is on an inquiry into the whole system. This matter (tribunal) is dealing with an individual. Justice Connors is not setting a tribunal. There are two separate matters," Mr. Sayed-Khaiyum said.

Justice Fatiaki's lawyer, Jon Apted of Munro Leys said he had not received the allegations against his client. "Up until today, we have not been told of the nature of allegations. He is still in the dark with the exception of an earlier general statement where it was pending an inquiry into the judiciary, back in January. He is still substantially the Chief Justice and suspended only," Mr. Apted said. He said Justice Fatiaki had not discussed the issue of a commission of inquiry into the magistrate's court.

Justice Fatiaki could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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