Friday, February 27, 2009

Lawyers' involvement could send wrong signal: Leung - Friday, February 27, 2009

Update: 4:51PM REPUTABLE lawyers would tend to refuse to take up judicial appointments in Fiji because it could send the wrong signals, Suva lawyer Graham Leung said yesterday.

"While overseas lawyers who take up judicial appointments in Fiji may be well intentioned, it could also end up sending a signal to the military-backed junta that judges from respectable countries have no difficulty in serving in a coup-infested country," said Mr Leung, a former president of the Fiji Law Society.

"This could end up emboldening the regime and its apologists."

Mr Leung was reacting to statements by current Law Society president Dor Sami Naidu, who had said that travel bans by Australia and New Zealand made it difficult to attract the calibre of people needed to ensure the independence of the judiciary was maintained.

Mr Leung said the travel bans were meant to pressure the coup makers into doing the right thing and returning the country to democracy.

"Once you start making exceptions to the rule, it is difficult for the policy to stand."

Mr Leung said very few people would dispute the idea that any judiciary should get the best quality legal minds.

"The million dollar question is how do you achieve that in a transparent way in a country which is being governed by a group of unelected people," he said.

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