Home » Uncategorized » Fortunately one Kiwi, in Christopher Pryde, is determined to be both independent and forthright and stand up to the pack.

Fortunately one Kiwi, in Christopher Pryde, is determined to be both independent and forthright and stand up to the pack.


DPP Christopher Pryde (Photo: Fiji Govt)

“The guilty shall be convicted and the innocent shall be acquitted”, declared Fiji’s Director of Public Prosecutions, Christopher Pryde, in a recent address to the Fiji New Zealand Business Council. Stating the bleeding obvious – you’d imagine – except when doubts continue to be expressed about the independence and impartiality of the country’s judiciary. And especially when the most high profile case in many years is due to commence in Suva next week – the corruption trial of deposed prime minister Laisenia Qarase.

The regime’s opponents continually trumpet the notion that none of their number can get a fair trial in Fiji. Even those with no interest in politics suspect an overzealous pursuit of some regime critics, such as the celebrated “fish’n’chips” shop licence case mounted against celebrity couple Imrana Jalal and Sakiusa Tuisolia. Was Motibhai chief and Fiji Times owner, Mahendra Patel, unfairly targeted over the Post Office clock affair? Can Bread Shop queen Mere Samisoni get a fair trial over the alleged conspiracy to burn down Suva? Can union boss Daniel Urai get impartial treatment from the courts for the charges he’s facing of urging political violence against the regime? It’s a Suva dinner party staple and an issue capable of arousing strong emotions. Because with our British legal heritage, the independence of the judiciary from government and the right of every citizen to a fair trail is justly regarded as an inalienable right.

Biggest test: Laisenia Qarase ( Photo: Radio Australia)

Next week, the system faces arguably its biggest test with the trial of Laisenia Qarase. Because no matter how well the case is run, no matter how transparent the process and whether Qarase is convicted on the evidence or acquitted, there will always be questions about whether the charges should have been laid in the first place. Even in some sections of government, there are concerns about how the trial will be perceived, based on the fact that Qarase evidently plans to contest the 2014 election as leader of the SDL. If he’s convicted, that won’t happen because – under the law – he’ll be barred from standing for public office for 10 years. So no matter what the outcome, it’s almost inevitable that the regime’s critics and sections of the international community will cry “stitch-up”. Indeed, there have evidently been diplomatic representations to drop the case altogether in the interests of not undermining the legitimacy of the 2014 poll. These diplomats apparently don’t see the irony of mounting such an argument when it’s clearly a case of putting politics above the law. But consistency hasn’t always been the strong point of Fiji’s critics and – as it is – justice will take its course.

AG Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum (Photo: Pacific Scoop)

The Qarase prosecution is being brought by FICAC – the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption – so Christopher Pryde, as DPP, isn’t in the driver’s seat. But he’s mounted a spirited defence of the system as the law officer who would normally decide whether enough evidence exists to mount any successful prosecution. In his speech to the Fiji NZ Business Council conference in Nadi, Pryde insisted that every decision he makes “ is completely independent of any direction from any person…including the Attorney General as chief legal advisor to Government”. In other words, he doesn’t take his orders – as some critics allege – from Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum. “The decision to prosecute is made on objective criteria in the public interest and involves a two step process. First, is the evidence sufficient to sustain the charge; in other words, is there a reasonable prospect of a conviction? Second, is it in the public interest to prosecute?”, he said. Pryde also pointed out that it’s within his sole power to decide whether to discontinue a prosecution at any time.

The former New Zealand solicitor is a genial presence in Suva and few who come into contact with him will realise the sacrifices he’s made to assume his roles in Fiji – first as Solicitor General and now as the man who decides whether there’s enough evidence to throw the book at alleged law breakers. Pryde has been vilified by his fellow lawyers in NZ as a regime stooge and is regularly branded as “treasonous” for having served an “illegal” regime. Yet he passionately believes in the concept of fairness and access to justice for all, especially in times of national crisis, and hasn’t been prepared to turn his back on Fiji however intense the vilification that comes his way. As he explained to the Business Council gathering that included Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum and Chief Justice Anthony Gates: “It is all the more important in times of uncertainty that the justice system is protected and strengthened. It is equally important that the justice system maintains its independence from the government of the day and is free to function unimpeded and unconcerned with the politics of the moment”, he said. Quite so.

Chief Prosecutor (Photo: Coup 4.5)

Yet that principle is being eroded – not from within but from without -by those countries that, paradoxically, are trying to force Fiji back to an imperfect democracy by degrading its judicial system. In his speech, the DPP said this was the inarguable effect of the Australian and New Zealand travel bans on those who take up government employment, including judges. “The policy of travel bans on judges and on those senior members of the criminal justice system is wholly misconceived. (They) have the effect of undermining the criminal justice system by acting as an obstacle to employing locally qualified and experienced people to the bench who, because they have family in Australia or NZ or perhaps health problems that require trips overseas do not take up judicial appointment”, he said.

The DPP added that the bans were also counterproductive to the national interests of Australia and New Zealand. He cited the recent smashing of an international drug ring by Fijian and Australian authorities that led to the conviction and imprisonment of drug couriers from India and the United States. “On the one hand, we have every assistance provided to us at the agency level. But on the other hand, at the political level, we have a policy designed to prevent the efficient functioning of that same system that would prosecute and convict drug dealers”, he said.

Delivering a blast ( Photo: Coup 4.5)

Mr Pryde also blasted his fellow lawyers in Australia and New Zealand for their “hostile” and “highhanded” attitudes towards Fiji. “In Australia, for example, lawyers have been warned that they may face disciplinary proceedings if they take up legal positions in Fiji. In the case of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the NZ Law Society categorically refused to allow advertisements for prosecution positions in Fiji to be advertised in the Law Society magazine”, he said. While these actions are applauded by anti-regime critics, the DPP said they were “undermining human rights in Fiji by denying ready access to justice for victims of violent crimes or by prolonging the period alleged offenders are remanded in custody until a trail date can be assigned”.

Mr Pryde said the potential delays in the justice system arising from the travel bans and threats to lawyers harmed everyone in society who benefited from a properly functioning judicial system. “It is no argument that all will be well when we have elections. Tell the victims of crimes that they have to wait. It is interesting to note, that during apartheid South Africa, no travel bans were imposed on judges at any time and even in Fiji, following the Rabuka coup and the dismissal of the judiciary in 1987, none of the judges who subsequently took up judicial appointment were subject to travel bans. This is a wholly new and totally misconceived policy designed to intimidate the judiciary and ultimately deprive the people of Fiji of their rights under law”, he concluded.

All this is often forgotten in the constant dinner party lament about the state of the criminal justice system in Fiji, of Sri Lankan judges who come and go, of magistrates barely out of short pants and the frustrations and delays invariably encourtered by anyone caught up in the system. “Justice delayed is justice denied”, goes one of the most famous of legal sayings, and that is the unfortunate legacy of Australia and NZ policy towards Fiji. Fortunately one Kiwi, in Christopher Pryde, is determined to be both independent and forthright and stand up to the pack.

28 thoughts on “Fortunately one Kiwi, in Christopher Pryde, is determined to be both independent and forthright and stand up to the pack.

  1. Immediately after his loss in Fiji’s Court of appeal where the Bainimarama was found to have overthrown the Government illegally Christopher Pryde was back at his desk planning the way forward wioth the regime.

    In his words if we’re going to throw out the constitution we had to do it right. So he was busy writing the first decrees which were promulgated.

    Namely PER and the imposition of censorship
    And best of all
    EXECUTIVE AUTHORITY OF FIJI DECREE 2009 The decree that says no decree can be challenged in the courts.

    As you say “he passionately believes in the concept of fairness and access to justice for all,” and yet he wrote the decree that does the exact opposite. With this decree he denied access to justice for thousands of Fijian pensioners amongst many others.

    Here is another example of a regime flunky saying all the right things but meaning none of them

  2. Mr. Pryde can you comment on YP Reddy’s Criminal File as well. How much bribe can stuff the file under the carpet? common Pryde tell is how much money changed hands to put a stop to file number 128/2010. Why only files of FLP and SDL leader is the focus of the DPP? Is it because Madam Shameem is his legal consultant?

  3. Nuni Khan
    well sait mate.we have khaiyum/baini milking money from tax payers.
    also nazhat is y p reddy lawyer proves khaiyum/baini/nazat/pryde are chor .

  4. Pryde who the f are you to charge our legal pm.
    mf go charge baini/khayum/nazat chor maichod.
    y p reddy case your boss took bribe and stopped it.
    wait when we will hang you in prison for treason with your chor bosses.

  5. Who cares what junta groupie davis says in support of the illegal pryde and his role in the illegal human rights abusing regime. He will have to answer to a court (an independent one unlike the current illegal one under the khaiyum dictatorship) for his treason and hostile acts agains the elected government and people of Fiji. Pryde is part of a gun toting thug junta – he is unemployable outside that junta (unless he wants to go to sri lanka or north korea) and he will answer for his crimes. There is no doubt about that. So he and davis can publically plead and masturbate as much as they want. History clearly tells us the outcome of this dictatorship, as it has clearly demonstrated for other dictatorships in recent times. Goodbye mr gaddafi – so much for your big mouth!

  6. Pryde the conman – Fiji Judiciary is depended on Khaiyum. Thats a fact my bro. Judge Gates is a poofta who sleeps with Khaiyum. Judge Gandu’s judgements are written by Madam Shameem for $28,000 each. Madam Shameen advices the DPP and Police. The regime witch hunts opponents and threats with Fiji. NO foreign government recognises you legal order. You are illegal. period. Go homr pryde before its too late. The hindu brotherhood is coming to Suva soon. keep listening to futher annoucements…..watuc out pryde….

  7. Davis, once again, shows his skill at writing a lot but saying very little.

    So Pryde and Aiyaz made their beds and now they must lie in them?

    What else do we already know but need Davis to tell us about?

    How about Francis Kean, Graham? Any observations to share?

    What about the case in Prasad? Why the whitewash?

    How about the Chinese donations directly to the PM?

    What about transparency for the regime?

    Why is there SO MUCH SILENCE and yet SO MUCH NOISE from the regime? They refuse to talk about important things, but rather talk about the personal lives of Christopher ‘Oh-look-I-got-a-job-in-Fiji’ Pryde? So much for journalism, Graham. Grow up.

  8. pryde you are con man like your boss khaiyum.
    why dont you go and f each other.
    pryde if you have some honestly left in you .charge y p reddy chor ..
    prove fiji public.

  9. pryde if you were a good lawyer why you didnt get any post in nz bench.
    you are f all lawyer like your mf boss khayum.
    who never fought a case.
    watch your back if you in night club fijian will get you .
    rip what you sow.
    we know you well mf .
    we will have stop order for you/khaiyum/cronies cant live fiji .

  10. With friends like davis and the fool from horowhenua the treasonous scum pryde certainly doesn’t need enemies. This white trash junta scum is an enemy of all I-taukei.

  11. NZ Law Society must investigate Pryde for conspiracy to pervert course of justice in Qarase case

    April 21, 2009


    The illegal solicitor-general Christopher Pryde is back in his old position and has the gall to tell his law-aiding countrymen lawyers to help Fiji return to rule of law in Fiji.

    Yes, so that he could, as Shaista Shameem claimed in September 2007 “steal” other peoples legal ideas and present it as his before a court of law.

    It is time the NZ Law Society investigated whether Pryde attempted, with Shameem, Khaiyum and Gerard McCoy to pervert the course of justice in the Qarase versus Bainimarama case in the Fiji High Court.

    The thoroughly discredited and unemployable Christchurch lawyer is yet to admit or deny Shaista Shameem’s allegations that the Kiwi lawyer stole her legal arguments and presented it as his own

    “This is about intellectual property theft by the white boys in the AG’s office. FHRC came to our conclusions on the December 5th events (which you know as the report Part II), brought it to the attention of the Solicitor General because they did not have a clue how they should go about this case. We then made an arrangement with them that we would intervene on the prerogative issue; he took that and went to Aiyaz and Gerard McCoy, who took our plan and without telling me made a separate application in an interlocutory matter on how the PM did not keep the President informed under section 104; and then when I cried foul, they decided to object to our intervention! This is how it goes here with the white boys and the AG’s office. I have of course declared war. You are free to use this information any way you like. The problem is the Tony Gates is a friend (close and personal) of Gerard McCoy and probably wants to make his name in the international constitutional circuit. This is how bad it is here now. Dog eat dog. I am certainly not assisting in the Fatiaki trial- let the cards fall where they shall. My job is the public interest and I did not write my reports for the state. The military council is fully briefed and I don’t have any worries.

    Best – Shaista.”

  12. There is no independance of judicary.

    The junta plot is to gail garase and chaudhary and then dictator to win election by default.

    These are set up, frame up and bribed cases in court.

  13. pryde maichod /mf take khaiyum/baini to court and his uncle y p preddy before you take our legal pm lq.
    Wait for the day when prisoners will f your ass .
    if lq goes to jail fiji will have trouble and you/khaiyum/baini will be hunted down and put in lovo pit.

  14. Breaking News: The businessman who was attempting to illegally export $250,000 worth of gold bars out of Fiji has been identified as Himmat Lodhia of Lords Jewellers Suva. Now FIRCA CEO has refused to public with his name as Frank is blackmailing him for a payment good enough to close the file just like file CID/HQ/PEP/128/2010. A good payment can resolve the matter quick and clean before it goes viral. Pryde your mouth stinks of corrption and selective persecution of regime opponents. The gold case will vanish soon as the payment in Hong Kong Bank account. So much for clean up…….

  15. Qarase ought to be very worried because justice weren’t served in an expeditious manner and therein lies his dilemma.

    This case has taken far to long for it to be consider a fair and just trail.

    Is this simply a trail to prevent Qarase from running for office?

    Here’s something the presiding jurist may want to consider, a quote from Edward Coke.

    “It is the function of a judge not to make but to declare the law, according to the golden mete-wand of the law and not by the crooked cord of discretion”

  16. Vinaka Pundit Prasad Bose Ji, this was long overdue,thanks for surfacing the culprit who has been involved in this trade for sometime.Our valuable assets are sold in foreign markets to unknown traders by HIMAT LODHIA. I may recall he was jailed sometime back when he was a senator for buying stolen items. I am also given to understand that he is running a trait who target Indian houses to steal gold jewellery and sell it to Himat Lodhia. Military spokesperson your comments on this is invited.

  17. Why only Qarase and Chaudhry? Why not: YP REDDY.Hari Punja,Himat Lodhia,Kanti Tappoo,Charan Jeet Singh,Pyara Singh,M Y Khan. Rehamet Ali [w/wreckers] Tauz Khan,Dewan Chand Maharaj,George Shiu Raj,A Jaan, M R Khan Bros, Irshad [Sakura Carz] Robert Khan[lailai], Gulam Mohammed ,Mohammed’s Halal Nuni, and so on

  18. Company caught trying to send undeclared gold bars overseas

    Publish date/time: 29/06/2012 [07:14]

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    Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority is now investigating a local company that was trying to send 26 undeclared gold bars overseas.

    Chief Executive Officer, Jitoko Tikolevu said that the export consignment was detained by Customs earlier this week.

    The total weight of the gold bars is 2.3 kilograms.

    Tikolevu said that the company made a false declaration.

    He said that they are now looking at prosecuting and penalising the company concerned.


  19. Sai

    Luveni qauri qase. You appear to have an eternal axe to grind as far as Qarase is concerned.

    What has happened to the ‘innocent until proven guilty’ maxim?

  20. bainimarama coup oops! i mean “clean up” was going to make a paradigm shift in the way politics was conducted in the country. but very little has really changed. the corruption by political leaders and businessmen continue unchecked .the country is being ruined and ordinary citizens continue to suffer. and the talk about building a better fiji continues to flow out of the stinky mouths of the usurpers.


  22. Vore.

    Na qauri ga o tamamu luveni dou vulitaki cici.

    Go back and try to comprhend what’s written idiot.

  23. I hardly drop comments, but i did some searching and wound up here Fortunately one Kiwi, in Christopher Pryde,
    is determined to be both independent and forthright and
    stand up to the pack. Fiji Today FijiTodays Open Forum Blog.
    And I do have a couple of questions for you if you don’t mind. Is it simply me or does it look as if like a few of the comments look like they are coming from brain dead folks? :-P And, if you are writing on additional places, I’d like to follow
    everything new you have to post. Could you
    list of the complete urls of all your shared pages like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

  24. Fiji Sun 11 Jjuly 2017 .The Director of Public Prosecutions, Christopher Pryde, confirmed last night that he had decided to charge 17 people including three chiefs for sedition under section 65 (2) (a) and inciting communal antagonism under 67 (1) (a) of the Crimes Decree 2009.

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