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Fmr Fiji leader sentenced by Lankan judge

3 August 2012 05:57 am - 32     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Sri Lanka Judge Priyantha Fernando who is sitting in the Fijian High Court has sentenced former Prime Minister in Fiji Laisenia Qarase, for a year on corruption charges, Sky News reported.

Mr Qarase, 71, served as prime minister from 2000 until he was overthrown in December 2006 by the military strongman Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

Cdre Bainimarama appointed Mr Qarase caretaker prime minister in 2000 following a coup by ethnic Fijian nationalists and he went on to win elections in 2001 and 2006.

The military leader later accused him of corruption and causing racial strife by favouring indigenous Fijians over the ethnic Indian minority and appointed himself prime minister.

Mr Qarase's lawyer, who asked for a non-custodial sentence, citing his age and poor health, told the judge the conviction meant he would not be allowed to contest the next election, which Cdre Bainimarama has said will be held in 2014.

Judge Fernando found Qarase guilty on Tuesday on six charges of abuse of office and three other corruption charges while he was a company director, financial adviser of the Fijian Affairs Board and adviser to the former Great Council of Chiefs, between 1992 and 2000.

The military regime recruited Judge Fernando from Sri Lanka to sit on the High Court bench after New Zealand and Australian judges who had traditionally served in the justice system refused to accept posts, claiming the courts were not free of government control.

Security was tight around the court and the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation quoted a police spokesman as saying officer numbers had been increased to 'deal with any issue that will arise'.

The New Zealand and Australian governments announced on Monday that they would restore full diplomatic relations with Fiji and relax sanctions to encourage Cdre Bainimarama to proceed with the elections he has promised.

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  Comments - 32

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  • Keith Friday, 03 August 2012 08:28 AM

    In Sri Lanka he will be told what to do. Is that why you want him back?

    Beeta Akka Sunday, 05 August 2012 05:34 AM

    Anything for the money, Aney. Simple as that.

    Moven Friday, 03 August 2012 08:59 AM

    Example for judicial system in SL.

    limatc Friday, 03 August 2012 09:26 AM

    oh , do not come here , the king family will kill you if u give negative judjement , you will also be a part of bribe taking judge community , pls do not come , better keep your honour and server what you have studied.

    lioen Jayatunge Saturday, 04 August 2012 08:33 AM

    Can he come to Sri Lanka and judge what is happening in SL

    priyanthai Friday, 03 August 2012 09:52 AM

    he is a clear example for our team of J!!!!!

    Sanjaya Friday, 03 August 2012 10:09 AM

    It is the typical justice system here in SL, as this paragraph explains: "The military regime recruited Judge Fernando from Sri Lanka to sit on the High Court bench after New Zealand and Australian judges who had traditionally served in the justice system refused to accept posts, claiming the courts were not free of government control"

    mahajana Friday, 03 August 2012 10:10 AM

    gem turns to gel if he does it for his motherland.

    Siripala Friday, 03 August 2012 10:35 AM

    There is no judiciary in a dictatorship. Fiji is governed by a dictator. This particular Judge is a stooge of the dictator and being a judge in such an environment is hilarious.His judgement is biased and he has brought disrepute to our motherland

    Leelananda Friday, 03 August 2012 10:51 AM

    This judge was recruited by military junta and given a sentence in favor of his master, junta. No different same like in Srilanka,

    manjula Friday, 03 August 2012 11:06 AM

    leelananda, it seems like almost all readers have misunderstood this news, everybody think that he has taken a brave decision to sentance former leader. but the truth is that he has taken up a job which several aussi and newzeland judges have rejected and has executed what the military junta wanted to get done from him. he has acted the same way most of his collegues do here in SL.

    manjula Friday, 03 August 2012 10:59 AM

    well said Siripala,

    simple simeon Saturday, 04 August 2012 02:38 AM

    A diamond in fact. He should be appointed the CJ in Sri Lanka.

    shane Saturday, 04 August 2012 03:09 AM

    our j dont have bk bone to give verdict in s/l

    Desha Friday, 03 August 2012 06:20 AM

    this judge is a gem to the country

    sampath Friday, 03 August 2012 06:14 AM

    Our Judges are practicing the law they way they cannot do it in their own country

    Nari Sabry Friday, 03 August 2012 02:24 PM

    Honest judgement? What honesty? Dont forget, after all this judge is Sri Lankan. Cant expect too much.

    John Friday, 03 August 2012 06:33 AM

    We need you here in Sri Lanka, your honour?!

    Anonymous Saturday, 04 August 2012 03:40 AM

    Did you all forget that this is the same judge who gave a judgement against the Fiji government a few months ago? How come no one had anything to say about that?

    Shamila Sakkaff Saturday, 04 August 2012 04:41 AM

    You hv proved your mettle.

    Nodrog Friday, 03 August 2012 06:32 AM

    He'd never dare do that here...too many white vans.

    jay Friday, 03 August 2012 06:53 AM

    I like the comment from sampath.

    Rajesh Friday, 03 August 2012 06:58 AM

    Convicting corrupt politicians is certainly good. But why are our judges serving dictators? Even some of our Supreme Court and Court of Appeal judges work part-time in Fiji. They serve a military dictator there. Their mind set changes when serving a military dictator. They then come here and dispense "justice" with that mind set at the back of their minds.

    The God Father Friday, 03 August 2012 06:56 AM

    He wont be the same person the sooner he keeps his feet in Sri Lanka,for various reasons.

    Katta Kuvera Friday, 03 August 2012 03:07 PM

    Waasi Patthata Hoyya!

    Cynic Friday, 03 August 2012 07:08 AM

    Send a white van to Fiji. This Judge is a danger to our dearly beloved family.

    Mafia Althaf Saturday, 04 August 2012 05:32 AM

    What mettle? His backbone must be made of coir rope to give a verdict in favour of a dictator.

    CHANDRAPALA Friday, 03 August 2012 07:37 AM

    He is an ideal person to be appointed to the Independent Judicial Service Commission.

    Game Over Friday, 03 August 2012 07:44 AM

    for heaven's sake, bring him here. There are several such verdicts he could deliver.

    Sanj Friday, 03 August 2012 07:34 AM

    Can we expect justice and independence from servants of military dictators? What is their judicial mentality? What is their ethical compass in relation to the judicial function? What principles of judicial independence do they adhere to? Do they make a distinction between their Sri Lankan and Fijian judicial roles? Can someone serving under a foreign military dictatorship, legitimately and credibly, sit at the same time on the bench of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka? What can be expected of judges in Sri Lanka who serve a military dictatorship elsewhere?
    Some would say there is no difference between a military dictatorship in Fiji and an elected dictatorship in Sri Lanka. But others still have a hope about Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court and judiciary, because there are still judges who have been forthright and dispense justice without fear or favour.
    Fiji is a country where there is no independence of the judiciary.

    asoka abeywardena Friday, 03 August 2012 07:46 AM

    you released your pressure in another country...TO ALL MAGISTRATES...DID YOU GUYS HEAR THIS NEWS...? Our CJ, Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake can you hear me...?

    Dee Friday, 03 August 2012 07:57 AM

    Wow! never in Sri Lanka. Any bets?


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