Fiji DPP responds to allegation from British NGO

A few days ago the NZ media breathlessly reported, via Michael Field, that a bunch of British busy-bodies had prepared a report on the rule of law in Fiji after a sneaky undercover trip there late last year.

The Director of Public Prosecutions has responded to the report and since the NZ media continue to report in a bias and underhand manner all matter with regard to Fiji I am posting the response here:

Nigel Dodds, the Chairman of an obscure British NGO, Law Society Charity, has publicly spread false, outrageous and inflammatory allegations against the Fijian judicial system. The intellectually dishonest allegations follow a private visit to Fiji by Mr. Dodds in November of 2011, during which he claims to have interviewed many lawyers, judges and opposition politicians.

Mr. Dodds spent approximately four days in Fiji. Four months later, he is making an undisguised attempt to draw publicity for himself and his group as a supposed expert on Fiji’s judicial system.

Mr. Dodds never contacted the Director of Public Prosecutions or any other government official for his “report”.

“The failure to solicit any opinion from people actively engaged with the Fijian legal system strongly suggests that Mr Dodds and his organisation are either being used by certain disgruntled people in Fiji to promote a political agenda or are being deliberately obtuse. Either way, the report is intellectually dishonest and does their organisation no credit.” said Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Christopher Pryde”

In an online critique of the report, one analyst asked, “Is this genuine charitable work? Or subcontracted political advocacy? There is little of professionalism here.”

The report, which Dodds did not provide to the Fijian government, makes racist allegations against The Office of Public Prosecutions.

Mr. Pryde said, “Mr Dodds seems to have a problem with Sri Lankan lawyers. The DPP’s Office recruits staff on the basis of merit, and is not concerned with a lawyer’s ethnic background but with their professionalism and integrity.”

Pryde added, “The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in an independent office and the Director of Public Prosecutions has the sole responsibility for criminal prosecutions in Fiji. This is without recourse to any Government minister, including the Attorney-General. The Office is non-political and independent in its decision-making.”

  • LesleyNZ

    Croz Walsh also has an interesting post about this on his blog. The retort found at the below link was written anonymously with the pseudonym Sudden Shelley. If what is said is true then the UK Law Society need to take a good look at themselves in the mirror. The UK ‘Rule of Law Lost’ Report and a Retort to the Report -  http://crosbiew.blogspot.co.nz/2012/03/uk-rule-of-law-lost-report-and-retort.html
    Seems this is all politically motivated by a few who have had their noses put out of joint and have an agenda. Makes you wonder where  Law Societies get their info from. Our own NZ Law Society must believe all that is  written on the anti-Fiji Govt blog “Coup 4.5″ – well going by what President JonathanTemm espouses about Fiji – he does!

  • LesleyNZ

    NZ Herald’s Derek Cheng also got on his soapbox.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/derek-cheng/news/article.cfm?a_id=207&objectid=10789851
     
    Rule of law lost in Fiji, undercover mission finds
    By Derek
    Cheng

    Commodore Frank Bainimarama. Photo / Greg Bowker

    A secret fact-finding mission to Fiji has found citizens have no legal way of
    challenging any of the Government’s decisions, and the rule of law and
    independence of the judiciary has all but vanished.
    A return to the rule of law is hamstrung by the benefits members of the
    ruling regime enjoy, and by state-sanctioned intimidation of dissenters.
    In November members of the Law Society of England and Wales visited Fiji on
    an undercover mission and interviewed past and present lawyers, judges,
    diplomats and people in non-government organisations.
    Their report Fiji: The Rule of Law Lost found a system of governing that was
    not “transparent, certain, predictable, accountable or democratic”.
    Foreign Minister Murray McCully said the report was “not very encouraging”
    but pointed to steps Fiji was taking towards holding elections.
    These included a commitment to a public consultation process and a voter
    registration programme.
    “This is a pivotal point in time,” he said. “The acid test in the eyes of the
    international community would be what steps take place now, both in terms of
    freedom of assembly and media freedom, but also in terms of the public
    consultation process and whether it will engage all stakeholders.
    Mr McCully said the jury was out and he wanted to keep an open mind.
    Fiji has been under military rule since 2006, when Frank Bainimarama seized
    power. He has promised elections in 2014.
    The report found that judges and prosecutors had been fired without reason,
    the state had censored the media and the regime abused its power to intimidate
    its critics.
    “The judges dismissed in April 2009 were given no reasons, no notice and no
    compensation for loss of office,” the report said. “It is apparent that their
    sin was to comply with their oath of office and to act independently rather than
    any misconduct. It is difficult to conceive of a more obvious attack on judicial
    independence.”
    Many of the state’s prosecutors were also replaced with lawyers from Sri
    Lanka on short-term contracts, the report said.
    The report called all national law societies and bars to lobby governments to
    press for measures to be taken by the Fiji Government to ensure a return to the
    rule of law.
    Labour’s foreign affairs spokesman Phil Goff said the report was damning, but
    he did not think harsher sanctions on Fiji were the answer.
    Economic sanctions hurt ordinary people without necessarily having the
    desired impact on the regime.
    INTIMIDATION
    * Dorsami Naidu, president of the Fiji Law Society and vocal
    critic of the Government, was detained by police for 24 hours after protesting
    peacefully outside a High Court building.* Hemendra Nagin,
    a lawyer who led a petition against the forcible removal of the Chief Justice in
    2007, was fined $15,000 for professional misconduct.* Human
    rights lawyer Imrana Jalal was charged under a decree that did not come into
    force until two months after she was charged. She was eventually acquitted, but
    lives in exile.* Graffiti artists have been charged with
    sedition.

  • politically unstable

    NZ MSM continues to publish Michael Fields unbalanced reporting. Field is banned from Fiji as well as some other pacific island countries. All he does is regurgitate any negative reports he finds. If Field was interested in balanced reporting, he would now publish the Fiji DPP’s response to the British report.

    IMO Field is just a nasty vindictive person using MSM as a tool.

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