To'abaita Authority for Research & Development (TARD)

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Friday, August 10, 2007

SI Court of Appeal declares that removal of Primo Afeau is lawful

By Deli Oso, Press Secretary to the PM

The Solomon Islands Court of Appeal yesterday ruled that Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s removal of Primo Afeau from the Attorney General’s post last year was lawful.

Mr Afeau who claimed his removal was unlawful challenged the Prime Minister’s decision in the High Court and the Court of Appeal contradicting the advise he had earlier given to the executive government that the Prime Minister had the constitutional powers to terminate an Attorney General at will.

In its ruling on the case today, the Court of Appeal declared that the Judicial and Legal Services Commission was entitled to accept that the Prime Minister validly advised it to remove Mr Afeau and it was legally required to follow the advise.

The court pointed out that “the appointment and termination of an Attorney General were at the pleasure of the crown because of the special role and responsibility of the Attorney General and that the power to dismiss an Attorney General must be implied under section 42 (2) of the constitution.”

It said: “the JLSC (Judicial and Legal Services Commission) must dismiss an incumbent Attorney General if required to do so by the Prime Minister just as it must appoint if required to do so by the Prime Minister just as it must appoint an incumbent provided it is satisfied that he has the qualifications required by the constitution.”

The Court of Appeal also declared that “under Section 116 of the constitution, the Public Service Commission also does not have the powers to remove the Attorney General from office.”

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