Sayed-Khaiyum says Fiji Law Society should know not to bypass processes after the Society raises concerns over the arrest, transfer to Suva and detention of Dr. Hawea

Sayed-Khaiyum says Fiji Law Society should know not to bypass processes after the Society raises concerns over the arrest, transfer to Suva and detention of Dr. Hawea

By Vijay Narayan , Rashika Kumar
Monday 30/08/2021
Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Fiji Law Society President Wylie Clarke

Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the Fiji Law Society should know that if there is a process you should not bypass it or try to interfere with it after the Society raised concern over the arrest, transfer to Suva and detention of Doctor Jone Hawea.

While responding to questions by fijivillage on the comments made by the Society President, Sayed-Khaiyum says he is not here to give legal advice to the Society.

He says the arrest, detention and charging of people is made independently by the Fiji Police Force and the charges are obviously reviewed by the Director of Public Prosecutions which is an independent office.

Sayed-Khaiyum asks why is it fine to follow the process for some people, but not to follow for others.

Meanwhile, Clarke had said Police are reported as saying that Doctor Hawea was detained for “spreading misinformation”.

The Law Society urges the Fiji Police to respect the rights and freedoms of persons under the Constitution and to act in accordance with the law.

Clarke says the Society is concerned that the Police appear to believe that they have an unrestricted right to arrest and hold people for forty-eight hours. He says they do not have that right or power.

The Law Society President says no one’s liberty may be interfered with, without a good and legally valid reason.

He says it is of particular concern to the Society that the Police are wrong in their interpretation of section 13(1)(f) of the Fijian Constitution if they believe that that gives them power to detain suspects for that period of time.

Clarke says it is not necessary to detain a suspect for questioning in the middle of the night if the suspect will co-operate with them the following day.

He says if it is clear that a suspect will attend voluntarily to answer questions, the suspect should not be detained at all.

Clarke says the arrest of Doctor Hawea follows the detention and questioning of a number of Opposition figures who had expressed opposition to Bill 17 to amend the ITaukei Land Trust Act last month.

He says Police appear to be taking a position “by default” that a person who disagrees with the Government is a danger to the community and should be detained for questioning.

The Fiji Law Society President says Doctor Hawea, like every other person afforded protection under the Constitution, has the right to freely express his views as long as he does not commit an offence or breach another person’s rights.

He says freedom of expression is a cornerstone of every democracy.

Clarke says we may not agree with Doctor Hawea’s views and statements on COVID-19 and vaccination but all of us, including the Police, must respect his right to express them. He says the Fiji Law Society has previously expressed the strong view that the Police must inspire public confidence by exercising their powers in a way that is fair and neutral and which respects the legal rights of others.

Clarke says public confidence and support is the Police’s most important asset.

The Law Society says a novel virus is wreaking havoc throughout the country.

It says citizens must have all available information about COVID-19, including information provided by Ministry of Health and Medical Services and the opinions of others.

Clarke says if the Government believes Doctor Hawea is wrong, it must join in debate with him and put information before the people.

He says if Doctor Hawea is arrested for simply expressing his views, then people will lose trust in the Government and the hard work of its doctors and other professionals through the crisis.

The Law Society President also says in a democratic, law-abiding society the authorities must lead the way in showing respect for the rights of others.

He says people cannot be arrested and detained just because of their opinions.

Police are yet to respond to the Fiji Law Society's statement.

Turaga says SG’s Chambers, Law Reform Comm and Ministry will work with FEO to undertake review of electoral process
Minister for Justice, Siromi Turaga stresses that the Office of the Solicitor General’s Chambers, the Fiji Law Reform Commission and the Ministry of...
8 hours ago
Top international entertainers MR.MR. and Piva to perform at Fiji Showcase
Top international entertainers, MR.MR. and Rogerio Piva are coming to Fiji Showcase 2024. Event Coordinator for Total Event Company, Mahjabeen ...
8 hours ago

78 homeowners’ applications approved for Fiji's Termite Control Subsidy Programme
78 applications have been assessed and confirmed that they meet the criteria for the Control Assistance Programme by Fiji's Termites ...
8 hours ago

SPBD opens 10th branch in Nausori
Going down to Suva to do payments, fill in forms and applications will be a thing of the past for members of the South Pacific Business Development ...
8 hours ago

Protecting our waters against trans-national organised crime is a challenge – PM
Fiji faces the challenge of protecting our waters against trans-national organised crime and through the combined efforts of our border agencies ...
12 hours ago

I was horrified to hear the PM say it’s only $8.1M - Fong
President of the Organizations for People Living with Disabilities, Elizabeth Fong says she was horrified to hear Prime Minister, Sitiveni Rabuka say ...
12 hours ago

fijivillage Straight Talk with Vijay Narayan
Latest Videos

Stay tuned for the latest news on our radio stations

CFL radio frequencies
RFNS Puamau submergence on Fulaga Reef
No timeline has been given on how long the salvage operations for the RFNS Puamau will take as the Fiji Navy has started the de-fuelling process in Fulaga in a bid to safely salvage the vessel from the reef.
6 days ago

Crisis within FijiFirst relating to the termination of 17 MPs who voted for salary increases
A crisis has erupted within the FijiFirst party relating to the termination of 17 members of parliament who supported the government's motion to ...
10 days ago

Pre-Budget 2024-2025
Pre Budget 2024-2025 budget recommendations and an insight of what people on the ground wish to see in the National Budget
12 days ago