Salesi Temo, appointed today as acting judge, was Chief Magistrate under the former Laisenia Qarase government before he was replaced by Naomi Matanitobua.
Matanitobua was not appointed under the New Legal Order when appointments were first made on the 20th of April.
Temo’s younger sister, Salote Kaimacuata, also served as a resident magistrate but resigned a year ago. She is now working at UNICEF in Suva.
Eparama Rokoika, appointed today as a magistrate, was one of the magistrates whose appointment was terminated following the abrogation of the Constitution. Our legal sources are not surprised Rokoika accepted re-appointment under the New Legal Order.
Usaia Ratuvuki, appointed today as a magistrate, was employed as a lawyer at the Fiji Human Rights Commission. It's generally agreed the Commission lost its status as an independent body to safeguard human and constitutional rights and freedoms once the military dictatorship took up the reins after the December 5 2006.
The FHRC Director, who later became its Chairperson and Ombudsman under the interim regime, Dr Shaista Shameem, was vocal in her support of Frank Bainimarama’s regime, but like Ratuvuki lost her job following the abrogation of the Constitution.
Coupfourpointfive legal sources say while Shameem has so far opted not to accept any appointment under the New Legal Order, her earlier support of the regime rubbed off on Ratuvuki.
William Calanchini, who was appointed Judge today, will serve as a High Court civil judge, according to our legal sources. Sources have told us Calanchini also acted as a lawyer for the Republic of Fiji Military Forces during the court martials of those charged in connection with the November 2000 mutiny. Calanchini, an Australian citizen, was appointed as Arbitration Tribunal at the end of 2003.
When the Employment Relations Promulgation (ERP) came into force in April 2008, Calanchini become the Employment Tribunal. The ERP also established an Employment Court. Another Australian citizen, Jocelyn Scutt, was both Employment Court judge as well as a High Court civil judge. She returned to Australia after refusing re-appointment following the abrogation of the Constitution.
Calanchini is likely to serve as Employment Court judge as well. Our sources say as an Arbitration Tribunal and Employment Tribunal, Calanchini delivered many awards and decisions in favour of unions and workers.
Our sources say his appointment is surprising, given some of his recent pro-worker decisions, including the backdating of the restoration of four of the five per cent pay cut for civil servants and staying the retirement of Suva City Council workers over the age of 60. Both decisions were overturned by the regime, via new decrees.