Anthony Gates: Gates replaced Daniel Fatiaki as Chief Justice after the 2006 coup. Together with Davendra Pathik and John Byrne, he ruled in October last year that the overthrow of the Laisenia Qarase led multi-party government was lawful under the Constitution as the President used his prerogative powers derived from the British monarchy. That judgment was overturned by the Appeals Court on 9th April and a day later the Constitution was abrogated.
In the judgment, Gates and the other two judges emphasised that the Constitution had not been abrogated by Frank Bainimarama on 5th December 2006 and as such all other laws were intact. In November 2000, as a High Court judge, Gates ruled that the abrogation of the Constitution by Bainimarama two weeks after the 3rd coup of 19th May 2000 was unlawful, and Mahendra Chaudhry was still the legal Prime Minister.
According to legal sources, the act that Gates has accepted appointed under the New Legal Order, is in total contrast to his judgments and views of the Constitution being the supreme law of the country and that decrees and promulgations are unlawful because only Parliament is the sole legal body empowered to make and amend laws as per the provisions of the Constitution.
Davendra Pathik: Pathik’s acceptance of a position does not surprise our legal sources. According to them, the 79 year old was impatiently waiting to be re-appointed and commented to close friends that he was disappointed at not receiving the re-appointment letter immediately after the abrogation of the Constitution. During the Qarase versus Bainimarama trial in March 2008, Pathik commented to Qarase’s lawyer that what else was President Iloilo expected to do when he endorsed Qarase’s dismissal.
Davendra Pathik is also a tutor of the law faculty based in Suva, run by University of Fiji based in Saweni, Lautoka. The University was established almost five years ago by the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji. Pathik is the Sabha’s Patron while his wife Sushila replaced Kamlesh Arya as its President when Arya, a former Fiji Labour Party MP, was appointed as Acting High Commissioner to Australia last year. Arya was a member of the National Council for Building a Better Fiji and replaced by Sushila Pathik upon is departure for Australia.
Daniel Gounder: Gounder was appointed a judge in 2007. He is the youngest member of the Bench and previously was a State prosecutor with the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions. The last trial that he presided over was the case involving 8 soldiers and a police officer charged with the brutal killing of Nadi teenager Sakiusa Rabaka. Gounder jailed all of them for 4 years for manslaughter. But less than a month later after the abrogation of the Constitution, all 9 were released from Prison under Compulsory Supervision Order.
Sosefo Inoke: According to our legal sources, Inoke was running a failed law practice that is originally registered as operating out of Nadi but most of the time Inoke has been Suva. Our sources say after the National Bank of Fiji's $220 million dollar scam was un-earthed in 1995, Sosefo Inoke was amongst a group of four lawyers who were owing the NBF a massive $400,000 they had overdrawn from their overdraft facility.
Sources say following the revelation, Sosefo fled to Australia to escape the clutches of the Bank and also avoid disciplinary proceedings that were about to be instituted by the Fiji Law Society. He re-surfaced at the turn of the century but has struggled to maintain a viable law practice. According to our sources Inoke’s main motive for accepting appointment is financial.
Mary Muir (magistrate): We can confirm that Mary Muir was a citizen of the United States when she arrived in Fiji almost 6 years ago. She was looking after the Ba branch of the law firm Mishra Prakash & Associates, owned by well known lawyer Vipul Mishra.