Court’s ruling is nobody’s business: Judge

October 5, 2022 12:58 pm

Suva lawyer Richard Naidu.

The Court’s decision in a particular case is nobody’s business but the parties.

This was part of the sentiments stated by High Court Judge Justice Jude Nanayakkara’s ruling in the Fiji Law Society’s application to intervene in the contempt of court proceedings against Suva lawyer Richard Naidu.

He said he was not convinced that this was an appropriate case to give the leave sought.

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The high court judge said the principal thrust of the Fiji Law Society’s submission was that the contempt alleged is scandalizing the court, there is judicial recognition that the court will have an interest in the proceedings.

In addition, FLS seeks to provide the court with material assistance on an independent and objective basis, which is especially important given the inherent conflicts in the proceedings.

Justice Nanayakkara said the FLS allegation presupposes that the court was not capable of presiding over these proceedings in an objective and impartial manner.

In response, the high court judge said he firmly rejected the assumption and that the courts play neutral adjudicators who apply the law made by Parliament and declare the pre-existing common law.

He further stated that the judge as a neutral arbiter weighs the arguments presented by counsel to arrive at a dispute resolution.

In his ruling, he also stated that FLS represents the interest of its members including the respondent and in the interest of its distinguished member, they are concerned about any adverse outcome of the proceedings, because of a member whose conduct is the subject of the litigation.

Therefore, Justice Nanayakkara ruled that FLS is not neutral and will not remain neutral in these proceedings.

The committal proceedings were brought against Naidu by Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, alleging that a social media post by Naidu sought to ridicule a judicial officer and the Fijian Judiciary as a whole, bring into disrepute and lower the reputation of the judicial officer and the administration of justice in Fiji and invite and encourage viewers of the post to cast aspersions against expatriate judicial officers.