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Judiciary Outrage

Judiciary Outrage
Chief Justice Anthony Gates
September 21
10:18 2014

Chief Justice Anthony Gates and the Director of Public Prosecutions Christopher Pryde have expressed outrage at the new comments by New Zealand that the Fijian Government has influence over the judiciary.

In a travel advisory which was reviewed on September 18, New Zealand cautions its citizens to take precaution when travelling to Fiji and also stated that “the government also has a degree of influence over the judiciary.”

Chief Justice Gates told the Fiji Sun: “Which piece of influence are they referring to?  Can they provide a specific example. Under the 2013 Constitution there is much less government influence than before in the 1997 Constitution. Did they complain then? No.

“You will find there is a greater government involvement in the appointment of NZ judges than in Fiji.  Their comments are raced off without analysis and typical of the patronising approach to matters to do with Fiji.”

Mr Pryde has asked New Zealand to either provide evidence of the supposed “influence” or retract their statement.

“It is disappointing that yet again the New Zealand Government continues to raise unsubstantiated allegations concerning Fijian Government influence over the Fijian judiciary.

“The allegation is unfounded and untrue and calls into question the credibility of New Zealand Government travel advisories which appear to be politically motivated rather than based on genuine concerns or evidence.”

He said that Fiji was not the only country in the Pacific region to take issue with the accuracy of New Zealand Government travel advisories.

Mr Pryde said: “The New Zealand Government needs to be upfront if it has concerns about the independence of the Fijian judiciary and raise these concerns in an open and constructive manner with the appropriate authorities, in this case, the Chief Justice. To date, they have not done so.

“The New Zealand Government should either substantiate their claim with credible evidence or retract the advisory as far as it relates to the Fijian judiciary.”




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