Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What Happens to Court Assessors in Fiji When They Disobey the Regime?

Read below an excerpt from Justice William Marshall in his Petition to Bainimarama and the Military Council about the interference of Attorney General Khaiyum in the independence of the Fiji Judiciary.

It firstly begs the question as who appoints the Assessors under the current regime and what instructions are given to them when they sit on a case. The excerpt below points out clearly the close hand of Khaiyum in appointing and removing assessors. They are all at his whim and control and it is very much consistent with Justice Marshall's claim of interfence in the independence of the Fiji judiciary by Attorney General Khaiyum.

Yet somehow, just like Pita Driti's appeal to Bainimarama before, Khaiyum has remained despite Justice Marshall's petition back in June for his dismissal. By his inaction, Bainimarama himself has become party to the attack on the apparent independence of the Fiji judiciary - a fact well known to most people in Fiji well before Justice Marshall even took up his ill-fated appointment in 2010.

So spare a thought for prominent regime Opponents such as PM Qarase and soon Mahendra Chaudhry! Given the result of Qarase's trial, what fate awaits Chaudhry's trial can very well be expected given the track record and history referred to below in Justice Marshall' petition. - Prison awaits!

Referring to a female Assessor, Justice Marshall (left) stated:

"I also know that she was a competent assessor of cases. I was not surprised in December 2011 when I heard that she had been dismissed by the Attorney General. The idea that one must encourage and retain public servants who wish to serve the public of Fiji with competence and integrity has no part in the Attorney General’s mindset. You do what the Attorney General wants whether it is lawful or not. If you refuse you are dismissed. Or even if you do it, but fail to achieve the required result,
you are dismissed. Perhaps the Attorney General asked Mrs Jinasena to reinstate Ms Jojiana Cokanasiga and she refused. Ms Jinasena was replaced by the Solicitor General Christopher Pryde who has never practiced criminal law. Perhaps his role in my recruitment has caused his demotion. Under his leadership Ms Cokanasiga has been re-employed." (Justice Marshall petition)

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