Saturday, July 19, 2008

Wake Up Fiji-Constitution has been Abrogated

Ridgway busts Constitution ‘myth’
18 JULY 2008

A former Fiji State prosecutor says it’s a myth to believe that the country’s Constitution is still intact and has not been abrogated.Former Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Peter Ridgway made the comment while presenting his paper on the power to pardon at the Fiji Law Society convention. “If you believe that law exists in Fiji then the supreme doctrine is the Constitution,” he said.“Fiji has to wake up from the dream that the Constitution has not been abrogated.”He said if the Constitution was truly alive then all promulgations were deemed null and void. Ridgway, who left Fiji in controversial circumstances in early 2006 after his contract was not renewed, said if the Constitution was followed then there could be no pardon for crimes if there was no conviction.“Even under the doctrine of necessity, the Constitution states that the president has the executive authority but even this executive authority is defined in the Constitution and even this has its limitations,” he said.“In the case of George Speight, he was pardoned after conviction but one has to question the pardon given to soldiers involved in the events of 2000. “It would only be right to pardon if they were convicted but these soldiers were never brought into a court of law.”Ridgway then questions the legality of the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption and the powers vested in FICAC to bring cases into the High Court.He said under the Criminal Procedure Code 202, only the DPP had powers to decide whether a person can be prosecuted.For FICAC he suggested that to legitimize the anti-corruption body, it be made into a department that will function as a branch of the police force.Panelist and constitutional lawyer Dr Samshud Dean Sahu Khan added that according to Section 45 of the Constitution even the President did not have the powers to pardon.

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