Monday, June 25, 2007

Jurisdiction of Lawyers.

Fiji Live article reports that Australian-based lawyer John Cameron, who was representing local activist in a case against the Interim Government, was denied entry.

Cameron was detained at Nadi Airport, while flying into Fiji. Immigration Director, Viliame Naupoto stated that,


“Cameron has been abusing our laws for sometime, by unlawfully
using his visitor’s permit to work in Fiji”.








This is the excerpt of the Fiji Live article:

Cameron was working illegally: Immigration
Tuesday June 26, 2007

Fiji’s Immigration department has revealed that Australian-based lawyer John Cameron, who represents local activist Angie Heffernan, was deported this morning because he was working illegally in the country.

Immigration director Viliame Naupoto has denied that Cameron’s “denial of entry” into Fiji was political in nature stating it purely related to him working without “proper papers”. Naupoto said two local lawyers had complained about Cameron’s “illegal” work status and the Immigration department acted on that tip.

“There is nothing political about this,” he told journalists in the last hour.

However, Cameron on June 13 had told the media that he would not be surprised if he is refused entry into the country. He departed for Australia two days later.

Cameron had also told High Court Judge Jiten Singh that he could be denied entry to Fiji during a case where he was representing the Fiji Law Society in its case against the appointment of the acting chief justice, Anthony Gates.

But Naupoto said Cameron has been coming to Fiji “and worked by representing clients in court without a proper work permit”.
“Cameron has been abusing our laws for sometime by unlawfully using his visitor’s permit to work in Fiji,” Naupoto said.

[Naupoto] said that while the Immigration Act allows that businessman on a visitor’s visa can work in Fiji for 14 days, “this provision is meant to allow for exploratory work for those that want to come and invest in Fiji”.

“It also allows a little freedom for foreign business people who have business entities both locally and abroad to come into the country and check their businesses here in Fiji.

“The provision was not meant for full fledged employment, like the way Mr Cameron was abusing it.”

Naupoto said it was hard to police individuals from overseas who come and “abuse” the 14 day work provisions but stated that Cameron’s deportation was not an isolated act, adding that the Immigration Department will react similarly to other solicitors who work illegally in Fiji.

“If Mr Cameron wants to work in Fiji, he needs to have approval to do so and that approval is issued via a proper work permit,” he said.

“He will have to first apply for a work permit and he needs to do this from outside Fiji as per the requirement.”

Cameron was to appear as Hefferans solicitor when her case is called before Fiji Court of Appeal President, Justice Gordon Ward later this afternoon.

Justice Ward had earlier today sought reasons from authorities on Cameron’s deportation and Naupoto said a response has been sent to the Appeals Court.

Cameron flew into the country last night to represent Heffernan who is taking legal action against the military for allegedly restricting her movements and freedom of expression following the December takeover.

Heffernan's case is the first court challenge to the Fiji military's attempts to detain civilians following the 2006 coup.


A second article by Fiji Live, reports that Cameron was on his way back to Australia, after being deported early Tuesday. Cameron's deportation was confirmed with an article from Radio NZ.

This is an excerpt from the second Fiji Live article:
Aussie lawyer sent back from airport
Tuesday June 26, 2007

Australian-based lawyer John Cameron was deported back home this morning after being detained by immigration officials following his arrival at the Nadi International Airport last night.

Cameron flew into the country to represent his client, local activist Angie Heffernan who is taking legal action against the military for allegedly restricting her movements and freedom of expression following the December takeover.

Cameron’s colleague and Fiji Law Society vice-president Tupou Draunidalo confirmed to Fijilive.com that Cameron flew into the country yesterday to prepare for the case, scheduled for later today.

“He called me last night saying he was being detained by immigration officials in Nadi and he was later deported at around 9 this morning,” Draunidalo said.

Asked whether Cameron was given any reason for his detainment, she said she had just heard that it had something to do with his work permit.

Immigration director Viliame Naupoto is holding a press conference this hour to explain the reason for Cameron’s deportation.

Heffernan's case is the first court challenge to the Fiji military's attempts to detain civilians following the 2006 coup.

Fijilive



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