The Legal Aid Commission has been granted leave to withdraw from representing Congolese national, Henry Lusaka.
The decision was made this morning at the Suva High Court.
39 year old Henry Lusaka may have to represent himself in court during his trial.
Suva High Court Judge Justice Daniel Goundar granted leave to the Legal Aid Commission to withdraw from the case after he was informed that the the Commission’s Chairman and Board Committee had rejected Lusaka’s appeal.
The Commission believes that Lusaka has enough money to hire a private counsel.
The Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, Elizabeth Rice, was informed of Legal Aid’s decision this morning.
Rice said Lusaka needs a proper legal representative as the charges against him are severe.
Lusaka is charged with charged with one count of murder of his 44-year-old wife Jennifer Anne Downes, an Australian national.
Justice Goundar said Lusaka has only two options, he can either represent himself or engage a private counsel.
Lusaka chose to represent himself but told the court that he cannot read or understand English.
He told the court that none of his family members in Congo are aware of his situation in Fiji.
Lusaka said he has attended University and has worked as a vet but according to Rice, Lusaka had only worked as a doorman.
The DPP’s Office has been given til the 31st of January to arrange for the bundle of documents to be translated to French.
Justice Goundar said he is deeply concerned about Lusaka’s right to a fair trial if he represents himself.
The court has been adjourned to the end of next month where the court will decide whether it will allow Lusaka to continue to represent himself while replying on the translated documents.
The court is also exploring the option of getting a private practitioner to represent Lusaka for free.
Lusaka informed the court previously that he intended to sell his family’s belongings and car so that he can have money to pay for a private lawyer. However, his family’s assets were forfeited as his deceased’s wife was the breadwinner of the family.