Justice prevails

THE remaining period of the suspension of Lautoka lawyer Iqbal Khan’s practising certificate has been lifted.

In its ruling yesterday, the Court of Appeal ordered the remaining period of the suspension be lifted “with immediate effect”.

The Court of Appeal exonerated Mr Khan of two complaints but affirmed the order of the Independent Legal Services Commission on one complaint.

On December 11 last year, the commission suspended Mr Khan’s practising certificate for 15 months with effect from that day.

Mr Khan then appealed against his suspension in the Court of Appeal.

He appeared in person during the hearing of the appeal by judges Justice Suresh Chandra, Justice Almeida Guneratne and Justice Kamal Kumar.

Complaint 1A was about comments, Mr Khan made on national television against the police officers, who were involved in a matter concerning his client.

Complaint 1B was that Mr Khan failed to conduct himself in a professional manner when he appeared on Fiji One news and talked about the proceedings of a High Court matter concerning a police officer, while the proceedings were still pending.

Complaint 4 was about Mr Khan taking money from a client and failing to disclose that he was also acting for the co-accused, who had conflicting defences in the criminal matter.

In its judgment, the Court of Appeal said there was not a single word by the appellant (Mr Khan) referring to the complainant in particular but rather a reference made to the police in general in regard to the treatment meted out to his client, the alleged victim of police abuse.

Also, the court said the police officer’s name on the said writ, with particular reference to him, was not displayed at the said television interview.

“Assuming it was in fact seen on the face of the said writ, that was not Mr Khan’s problem given the fact that his endeavour on behalf of his client was against abuse of police power in general which he had in no uncertain terms been saying on the said TV broadcast,” the Appeals Court said.

On Complaint 4, the court said there was no reason to interfere with the findings of the learned commissioner, and there was no error or misdirection in his order regarding the complaint.

Mr Khan yesterday said: “I had faith in the system and I’m happy that justice has prevailed. It will be back to normal business in the court now.”

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