Cogito, ergo sum. I think, therefore I am. (René Descartes, mathematician and philosopher,1599-1650)

Thursday 20 September 2012

The Mysterious Case of Justice William Marshall

Jusitice William Marshall
Justice Marshall's contract as Resident Justice of Appeal was not renewed in April after he had served in Fiji for less than two years. The Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, says this was because the judge was corrupt.

Justice Marshall says the Attorney-General is an “irrational and vengeful man” who opposed the renewal of his contract because he could not be relied on to do what the Attorney-General wanted.

He accuses the Attorney-General of interference with the judiciary and has produced a 100-plus page petition to the PM detailing his case. It is not an easy petition to read because the pdf pages are reproduced in reverse order and to make sense of the document, one has to read it backwards. It is also a difficult document upon which to form an opinion. Some of my contacts think his petition is sour grapes, and some of its details are certainly incorrect, but in this layman's opinion he has made a sufficient case for his arguments to be heard.

Unsurprisingly, his petition has been seized by those opposed to the Bainimarama government as proof of the corrosive influence of Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and of government's sinister intents. But here they fail to differentiate. Justice  Marshall is certainly outspoken on the Attorney-General but he is not anti- Bainimarama government. Indeed, he comments on several occasions on the “corrupt, undemocratic and racist” Qarase Government that Bainimarama deposed and of Bainimarama's “just cause.” 

Those opposed the the Bainimarama government make no mention of this. They focus solely on his criticisms of Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and through their omission make it seem Justice Marshall is also against the Bainimarama government.

But this is not so. For example, and I quote:

The only way to restore the electoral fortunes of your [Bainimarama] just cause is to forthwith dismiss the Attorney-General and his agents or benefactors of cultural nepotism practised by him. 

Clearly, Justice Marshall is not attacking the Bainimarama government. His only grouse is against Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Unfortunately this resonates with those who distrust the Attorney-General on personal, professional and racist grounds. Some do not like his brusque manner; others really do think he interferes with the judiciary, and others distrust him because he is an Indo-Fijian Muslim and part of a supposed Muslim conspiracy to take over Fiji.

The petition is a strange document whether or not there is any substance to his allegations of interference with the judiciary. He seems to think the Chief Justice, Anthony Gates, was an honest man until recently when “the Attorney-General made him his agent within the judiciary.:"  He thinks the Chief Resister should be dismissed because he fears losing his office if he does not comply with the Attorney-General's wishes. He writes, “I wished to serve for a long time in my office of Resident Justice of Appeal and to settle in Fiji” and said when the Attorney-General has gone, the PM “needs someone like me to advise government.”

He talks of the “premature withdrawal of the British in 1970” and of the failure of Indo-Fijians to intermarry except with “only relations of their own sect.” He proposes Nazhat Shameem as the new Chief Justice “but only if she is no longer conflicted by cultural ties with the Attorney-General.” He incorrectly states Justice Shameem recommended  Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum as Attorney-General, and that her family and his were close friends, and he writes of a “cultural nepotism” she shares with the Attorney-General. It is difficult to know where he obtained such ideas. Justice Shameen is an Ahmadiyya Muslim; Sayed-Kaiyum a Sunni, and no one has ever suggested Justice Shameem has ever unfairly advanced her own position or those who share her familial, religious or other beliefs.

Even more strangely, he proposes Nazhaat Shameem's sister, Shaista, for the position of Attorney-General — but makes no mention of her “cultural nepotism.”

All in all, I'm left with the feeling that here rests the spiritual body of yet another born-again imperialist, marked and marred by a lifetime in Hong Kong who is bemused that other lesser mortals in Fiji did not welcome his patronage. 

Heed his warnings on judicial interference; note what he thinks on the just claims of the Bainimarama government, but do not pay too much attention to his personal story of a good man unfairly wronged. 
-- Crosbie Walsh


Rusi said...

What we can be very sure of, is no matter his claims, whether true or not, there is no mechanism to address or investigate them under this regime. No perosn dare invfestigate or lay or poitnthe finger of doubt on nay of the chosen ones in the interim government and frankly Croz, it wouldn't matter if five judges had reported the same , you are inclined to support them in any event as like the good judge, you are having to justify your own support for the military coups that removed the elected government of the day, abused donor nations, imposed media restrictions,PER intimidated/arrested/beat up opponents and now again, deport international delegations who don't toe the regime line. (despite your continual invitation for other to see for themselves and judge)

Anonymous said...

The 'interim AG' says the judge was corrupt, so we can assume can we, that there is an investigation underway or completed and charges pending and a request for extradition? Put up or shut up. I would be happy to compare the dossiers they have on each other and their activities.

Anonymous said...

'no one has ever suggested Justice Shameem has ever unfairly advanced her own position or those who share her familial, religious or other beliefs.' Rather presumptuous aren't you about how other feel, think or allege about Shameem?

Rusi said...

i agree... where is Croz's demand for evidence from this AG that no one ever heard of prior to being invloved in the junta.Rubbishes the judge and then as we all come to expect a valiant defense of the AG and his craven judiciary that were all quick to sign up to serve a military junta.The same junta that will not toleerate any accountability but bleats about others alleged corruption. But Croz will argue, they did provide free transport to the oldies.So there.

Gutter Press said...

Regarding the interim AG’s claim that Justice Marshall was corrupt, three scenarios appear to exist:
1. Marshall J was corrupt before coming to Fiji and remained corrupt – possible
2. Marshall J was not corrupt before coming to Fiji and, at his mature stage of life, became corrupt – unlikely
3. Marshall J was not corrupt before coming to Fiji and remains uncorrupted - possible

If 1) then the selection process was flawed and the person responsible for hiring Marshall J should be sacked.
If 2) then significant proof needs to be provided and extradition proceedings started by applying to Marshall J’s present country of residence
If 3) then hopefully Marshall J will make a stand and clear his good name by suing the interim AG for defamation of character.

In any event, if the interim AG doesn’t provide concrete evidence of Marshall J’s corruption, the DPP’s office should bring him before the court for scandalising the Fiji Judiciary. Since there has been relatively recent precedent, that case should proceed without any undue difficulty.

Anonymous said...

@ Gutter, outstanding work.

Charlie Charters said...

Croz, I like that you have the courage of your convictions but on this ... I don't know ... you seem to be straining hard at the very edge of credibility: believe the QC when he says Qarase's govt was racist and Frank offers extraordinary powers of national redemption, heed his warning on this and that, but otherwise treat him as the neo-colonial gin-soaked popinjay that allows us to dismiss the very detailed and precise accusations he makes about specific cases, to wit a man guilty of murdering his wife allowed to go free because of an ill-conceived plan to rework a witness statement in support of the DPP, four innocents convicted on the basis of retouched sworn evidence by a pathologist etc. To paraphrase a well-known actor: 'You're not completely in denial. You're just being very selective about the reality you accept.' Which, as we all know, amounts to the same thing.

Anonymous said...

The whole thing sucks!!! It's all about power. Hunger for power. The fight for power in the Fijian paradise. First, it was the Hindus via Mahen and, it's the Muslims thru the Khaiyum bros. The poor puppets in between are the so-called generous, smiling, and the most friendly 'iTaukei's'. This time around, the Khaiyums will most likely pull thru...only if they are able to access 'money'[jihad] from their big brothers to pay pay off the 'smiling friendly faces' in paradise. The law is the driving wheel and money is the petrol....the AG is the, everybody shut up and RIDE.. [whether u like it or not]!

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to hear from Marshall on why he didn't do anything then or send a petition then? Why did he wait to get kicked out to start speaking? It's really hard for someone to put up a case like this when their pockets are no longer being filled!

Maybe some investigative piece on who and what he was really up to would be a good start Croz.

Anonymous said...

Funny thing about this long petition is how much hearsay there is in it. The Justice makes assumptions about AGs hand behind the judiciary but provides no evidence that the AG is doing these things! Much is based on what he hears frim others and in the media. Which shows us how powerful the media and gossip are in Fiji but nothing else. Funny thing, the Chief Registrar has left, so has Naigulevu, so has Justice Sosefo. Why, if they were all agents of AG?
As for his judgments, well we havent heard from the judges on the court who disagreed with him or held different opinions so we only hear his version. Plus judges get overruled everywhere in the world and a lot of people in the UK have been found to be wrongly convicted but it doesnt mean the judiciary is dishonest!? Too much supposition and speculation and too much reliance on racial profiling. You are right Croz. It is an imperialist take in a loss of position.

Anonymous said...

I have no time for those who soil their former nests from a distance. Everything is as it is meant to be, for better or worse. Those matters that are kept in darkness will eventually be brought into the the appropriate time.

The AG continues to dig a deep pit for himself. There is no redemption awaiting him. It is disappointing that some men of substance (like CJ Gates) have destroyed a lifes long work by compromising their principles for the AG. Despite their years of honest service, it has all been undone in a short space of time. It is hard to know if they have allowed themselves to be corrupted or there true colours have recently been exposed. It is likely to be the latter.

Great letter by you Croz. How can Marshall be invited back when he was so quick to shoot from a safe distance. It is a pommy (Scot) whinge in the extreme. It should have stayed a private matter between he and the PM. Tacky Tacky Tacky.

Anonymous said...

william marshall is a hero

zizak said...

you think YOU can speak you from a safe distance yourself anonymously so brave yourself I dont hink at least William Marshall said something exposed a truh was even afraid but gave his name and a face but you do not do this then criticise from a save distance .Think this we all do are best our very best for justice in an unsafe an uneasy world a word we cannot control but in the face of injustice a man who peaks in my book is aniconi xample.I do not think you a fool you had reason but you excluded courage you do not know the cost to Mr marsahall an his family and his career so be graceious think before you condem my dear silly billy perhaps young no doubt not a great fighter but a good brain use it not aainst those trying to do something but against evil

Anonymous said...

Bill Marshall is a good and brave man and a hero