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Sri Lankan judge unpicks appeal cases

May 29, 2013

A  couple of judgements by the Fiji Court of Appeal in recent months that have gone unnoticed and unreported – and which cast more doubt on the calibre of judges.
They also call into question the operations of the Fiji Judicial system under the 2009 State Services Decree.

Under this decree, and at a time when the judiciary had fewer judges, High Court judges were allowed to hear appeal cases on their own.

A series of judgements by the Sri Lankan Judge, Justice Suresh Chandra, who joined the Fiji legal fraternity last year, now says the practice is wrong.

Chandra: New ruling

Chandra has ruled that “A single Judge of the Court of Appeal has no jurisdiction to decide on an application to withdraw an appeal. In terms of Rule 39 of the Court of Appeal Rules the single Judge should direct the application for withdrawal to be made before the Full Court.”

Chandra has applied the ruling to the following judgements:

12th December 2012 CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.AAU0108 OF 2010 [High Court Criminal Action No. HAA 48 of 2008
12th April 2013 CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.AAU0053 OF 2010
[High Court Criminal Action No.HAC 81 of 2010]
18th April 2013 CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.AAU0042 OF 2011
[High Court Criminal Action No. HAC 24 of 2011]
8th May 2013 CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. AAU0106 OF 2010
High Court Criminal Action No. HAC 155 of 2010
8th May 2013 CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.AAU0002 OF 2011
High Court Criminal Action No. HAC 127 of 2009
In what is a complete waste of time and resources and quite typical of Fiji judiciary Anthony Gates style, these cases now have to go to the full bench of the Court of Appeal for another hearing.

Editor’s Note: Suva High Court assessors have meanwhile declared former Post Fiji managing director, Tevita Peni Mau, and former general manager finance, Dhirendra Pratap, not guilty of abuse of office charges. The charges were brought by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption. See the Fiji Times story for the decision and the ‘traumatic’ seven years Mau endured before ‘justice’ was finally served.


Source – Coupfourpointfive; Posted by Rusi Varani for SWM

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