Fiji regime employs NZ lawyer

New Zealand lawyer Christopher Pryde has rejected harsh criticisms of his decision to remain Solicitor-General of Fiji after its military regime ruled that it cannot be challenged in court.

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The New Zealand Law Society had advised Pryde that lawyers should not accept office with an unlawful regime.

Pryde explained on radio that he had made his choice to ensure the country could restore the rule of law.

However Fiji\’s military regime had reportedly begun shredding documents that incriminate it, ruling that it cannot be legally challenged over its 2006 coup.

A top United Nations official also declared Fiji’s disbandment of its constitution a ‘brazen action’ which increased the potential for instability and violence.

Pryde also rejected criticism from the Fiji Law Society, saying it has been successively compromised over the last two years and was a shadow of its former self.

Eight magistrates and a chief magistrate were sworn in by President Ratu Josefa Iloilo on Monday and the Fiji Law Society said it had been told court documents concerning the interim government dating back to 2006 had been destroyed.

Blog websites have reported that the troubled country\’s newly-appointed chief registrar, Major Ana Rokomokoti, has been destroying court documents related to the coup and any other negative claims.

The actions are part of the latest power grab by military leader Frank Bainimarama, who has ruled the country by virtual dictatorship since overthrowing a democratic government in December 2006.

His government was recently handed more power when the constitution was abolished, elections delayed, media censored, judiciary sacked and top officials replaced with those suiting Bainimarama\’s new order.

Fiji Law Society president Dorsami Naidu said the actions were a vain attempt to protect an illegal government.

“I have heard they have shredded all paperwork and files on actions pending against the military regime,” Naidu said.

“They\’re wrecking it to try to get away with what they\’ve done.”