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High Court dismisses Radrodro’s application

The Suva High Court has struck out former SODELPA MP Salote Radrodro’s application for Constitutional Redress on charges of providing false information and claiming allowance of money as a parliamentarian in the Magistrates Court.

The matter was called before High Court Judge Justice Deepthi Amaratunga today and this action was transferred to the High Court by the learned Resident Magistrate after hearing objections from Plaintiff for such transfer.

Justice Amarantunga said this decision was appealed in the High Court and the decision of the Resident Magistrate was affirmed and the trial proceeded before another judge of the Anti-Corruption Division of the High Court.

He said Plaintiff is alleging a breach of Section 15 (1) of the Constitution, which deals with the Right to a Fair Hearing by way of Constitutional Redress in parallel proceedings to the Appeal.

The Court heard that the Respondents objected to the Constitutional Redress and sought a strike out of the Constitutional Redress based on the availability of alternate remedy through an appeal, which is pending in the Court of Appeal.

The Court heard that the Plaintiff admitted that identical issues as to the Right of Fair Hearing, were raised in Court of Appeal for seeking leaving to appeal and leave is granted for Plaintiff to proceed with Full Court of Court of Appeal including the allegation of denial of Right to Fair Trial – The said appeal of Plaintiff is pending before Court of Appeal.

Justice Amaratunga said Section 44(4) of the Constitution states ‘The High Court may exercise its discretion not to grant relief concerning an application or referral made under this section if it considers that an adequate alternative remedy is available to the person concerned’.

He said when there is ‘adequate alternate remedy is available by way of an appeal and identical issue of alleged denial of Right to Fair Hearing is before Court of Appeal, the discretion granted to this Court in terms of Section 44(4) of the Constitution allows Constitutional Redress irrespective of availability of any action.

“Abuse of process must involve something which amounts to misuse of the process of litigation. However, whilst the categories of abuse of process of the court are not fixed there are examples which are relevant to this appeal.”

“To seek constitutional relief where there is a parallel legal remedy will be an abuse of the court’s process in the absence of some feature ‘which, at least arguably, indicates that the means of legal redress otherwise available would not be adequate.”

“The contract approach to determining whether a claim for constitutional relief is an abuse of process because the applicant has an alternative means of legal redress was explained… where there is a parallel remedy constitutional relief should not be sought unless the circumstances of which complaint is made include some feature which makes it appropriate to take that course. As a general rule, there must be some feature which at least arguably, indicates that the means of legal redress otherwise available would not be adequate,” Justice Amaratunga stated.

In a separate matter Radrodro’s appeal on the decision of the High Court is still pending in the Court of Appeal.

Ilaitia Ravuwai
Ilaitia Ravuwai
Journalist | news@fijilive.com

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