Statement from the Government of Nauru – Re current legal proceedings

There have been a number of comments in some overseas media outlets and on social media around a current court case in Nauru involving former MPs. These reports seek to denigrate the legal system in our county and are insulting to members of our judiciary, who are upstanding, independent and respected across the Pacific region.

There is no basis to a recent story that included comments by former MP Mathew Batsiua, one of the defendants, that he fears the Government will deport his legal team and has threatened his lawyers. These comments appear to be made with the intention of undermining Nauru’s legal process through the media.

The Nauruan justice system is independent of the Government and the defendants are being provided a fair trial. Indeed the Minister for Justice made the point in the Parliament this week that as the riot case was before the court, the matter was sub judice and he would not comment on its merits. The appropriate location for the defendants to plead their case is in the court, not in the media.

Recent comments on social media that the Courts Act was amended to allow for the expunging of evidence before the courts are misguided. There have been no such changes to the law as alleged and any such suggestions are mischievous and untrue.

The Government respects the legal process and does not comment on matters before the court. We expect others to do likewise including overseas media.