JUDGE IS FIRST FIJIAN NAMED TO COURT OF APPEAL

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SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Feb. 5) - Two female judges and a Fijian judge were named in the bench of Fiji’s Court of Appeal today is a first for Fiji.

The first session of Fiji’s Court of Appeal for this year began this morning in Suva following the resignation of the entire panel late last year. Their replacements today are members of the Fiji High Court, including Justice Jocelyn Scutt from Australia, who was admitted to the court late last year.

The new panel include: Justices Nazhat Shameem, Jocelynne Scutt, John Byrnes, Daniel Gounder, Davendra Pathik and Isikeli Mataitoga, a former diplomat and CEO of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Interim Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said Mataitoga was the first ever indigenous Fijian in the Court of Appeal.

While speaking at the session this morning, Sayed-Khaiyum gave his assurance to the bench that the interim government "will respect your order" and "we won’t attack you."

"What we want is that you do your duty according to law," he said.

Former High Court judge Roger Coventry, who was the only member of the High Court to sit as a regular member of Fiji Appeals Court, expressed concerns on certain aspects of the judiciary at his farewell party last month.

He said that the resignation of the entire panel of the Appeals Court last year left behind "an unsatisfactory state of affairs."

"The knowledge that there is a respected and experienced Court of Appeal available to put right any errors is most reassuring," he said.

Comments are being sought from the new Appeals Court judges.

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