Thursday, April 09, 2009

Judges to rule on appeal

Judges to rule on appeal - 4/9/2009

The Fiji Court of Appeal will decide today on the appeal filed by ousted Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase.
The three judges, Justice Randall Powell, Justice Ian Lloyd and Justice Francis Douglas announced this after both parties involved in the appeal completed submissions yesterday afternoon.

Parties responded to submissions made by the Fiji Human Rights Commission and the Citizens Constitutional Forum, who acted as amicus curiae's or friendly observers, for the appeal case.

While responding, lawyer for the State QC Richard Gordon said CCF misunderstood the case.

He said the case was about justiciability at its core and not about whether there was sufficient emergency to render decisions made by the President since then.

Mr Gordon said the court would have to uphold the Presidents decisions as they had been made within the provisions of the constitution.

"There is no decision which this court could make against the President which would be constitutional."

He said the assumption made by the forum that, constitutionally, the President could only act upon advice from the Prime Minister, was misconceived.

He said the constitution does not mandate the President not act without advice from the Prime Minister.

Mr Gordon also said the court could not compel or order the President to act as there was no provision within the constitution for this.

However, while responding to this Qarase's lawyer QC Brett Walker said Gordon was suggesting there was no relief for the current situation.

Mr Walker said as an interim Government, the government in place should have an end point which was to hold elections.

However, State laywer QC Gerard McCoy said the Electoral Boundaries Commission in Fiji was still doing its work and the court could therefore not make a compulsion for fresh elections to be held.

Mr McCoy said the court had to account for the financial situation in Fiji at the moment which would not be able to afford an election.

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