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Fiji Law Society got it wrong says AG

February 10, 2021 4:55 pm
Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has hit out at the Fiji Law Society saying it has disrespected the office of the Speaker of Parliament.

The Society yesterday issued an open letter calling on the Attorney General and Parliament to defer debate on two bills before the House.

The Anti Corruption Division Bill and the Abolition of Assessors Bill are due for debate this week.

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Sayed-Khaiyum says the motion on the two Bills was put forward with no objections from either side of the House.

He says the Law Society has not only got the law wrong but have done a grave injustice to the Speaker, insinuating that he has done something wrong.

The Attorney General has questioned the independence of the Fiji Law Society saying it has attacked the Speaker and questioned his leadership.

“It would appear to me that they are playing politics because this is precisely the agenda that SODELPA and NFP is trying to highlight indirectly and directly questioning the leadership of the honourable speaker and here we have the Law Society doing the same thing again and getting the law wrong.”

Speaking on the Abolition of Assessors Bill, Sayed-Khaiyum says there is a lack of consistency.

The Attorney General says judges are relying on assessors to determine their verdict.

Sayed-Khaiyum says it’s incorrect of the Fiji Law Society to say that Fiji’s assessors’ system is shared with other Commonwealth jurisdictions.

He says in Fiji assessors verdicts need not be followed by the judge.

He says the law has developed and if there are patriarchal notions in society there will be enormous conflicting decisions being made by assessors.

The Attorney General while questioning the Fiji Law Society in saying the Bill needs to go for public consultation says, assessors in similar cases of rape have given different verdicts.

“The whole point is to get consistency in the law to develop proper jurisprudence and also it will also ensure that the judges will actually develop their system within themselves, they will be able to have consistency too.”

He says the abolition bill will see that judges can do their work consistently.

Talking on the Anti-Corruption Division Bill, Sayed Khaiyum says the Law Society dares to say corruption is not too complex in the country.

He says there are inconsistencies in dealing with corruption cases in Fiji and the bill will address that.

The Attorney General says public confidence is corroded because of corruption.

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