President of the Fiji Labour Party Mrs Jokapeci Koroi today slammed as “the height of absurdity” a statement by Chief Justice Daniel Fatiaki that Labour’s multi party cabinet case in the Supreme Court could not be given priority over over pending civil and criminal cases.
The matter was taken to Supreme Court by Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase after he lost the case in the Fiji Court of Appeal earlier this year. The Court had ruled that Qarase’s government was unconstitutional and unlawful and that he should include Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry and the FLP in his cabinet on a proportional basis.
Chaudhry has been critical of government’s failure to constitute the Supreme Court to hear the case as a deliberate ploy to delay the process.
In her statement slating the CJ for his comment, Mrs Koroi said:
“It is the height of absurdity for the Chief Justice to claim that a constitutional case on which Fiji’s political and economic stability depends should not get precedence in the Supreme Court over pending criminal and civil cases.
“It is most irresponsible, if not ridiculous, for Chief Justice Daniel Fatiaki to make such a statement,” FLP President Mrs Jokapeci Koroi said.”And it seems a deliberate ploy to delay a final decision on the multi-party Cabinet case,” she said.
It should be remembered that the CJ, with his predecessor and another fellow judge, were widely criticised last year over the role they had played in the purported abrogation of the 1997 Constitution by the army commander.
“The CJ is now obviously showing his true colours,” Mrs Koroi said.The Chief Justice should not involve himself in any of the constitutional cases, given his involvement in the purported abrogation process and the stormy controversy this had created, including condemnation from the Fiji Law Society.
It will be recalled Justice Fatiaki had, in fact, been forced to disqualify himself from hearing a CCF case involving constitutional issues early last year.
“His statement in today’s media should be a cause of concern to all citizens who want to see an impartial judiciary,” Mrs. Koroi said. .————————