Nauru Chief Justice dismisses interference claim

Nauru's chief justice has "categorically and unreservedly denied" that there is any interference from government in the island's judiciary.

Filimone Jitoko was been quoted in the Nauru Government Bulletin defending the 'sanctity of the independence' of the judiciary.

Nauru's government and its judicial system have been strongly criticised for the past six years, beginning with the deportation of the resident magistrate and the denial of a visa for the then chief justice.

That prompted New Zealand to withdraw aid support for the Nauru judiciary.

Later a judge's contract was not renewed after the government was critical of what it considered light sentences being handed down.

The government brought in another Australian judge, Geof Muecke, to hear the trial of the group dubbed the 'Nauru 19' but he declared this group could never receive a fair trial in Nauru given the level of government interference.

That led to abuse of Mr Muecke in the Nauru parliament and a promise to have him removed, which promptly happened.

Most recently, in the case of the 'Nauru 19', the judge allowed the trial to go ahead despite the defendants not having legal representation.

But in the Bulletin, Chief Justice Jitoko is quoted saying there is not a "single ounce of truth" in the allegations made about the court and independence was the foundation of Nauru's democracy.