Justice Prithviraj Fekna, who served on the Seychelles Court of Appeal, died unexpected this week. He had been sworn into office as a non-resident member of the appeal court on 27 June this year. Previously he had been a member of the Supreme Court of Mauritius.
Justice Fekna fell ill on Monday and was taken to hospital. He died in hospital the following day.
The President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Francis MacGregor, addressed a ceremonial sitting on Wednesday in honour of Justice Fekna, speaking about the contribution he had made to the Supreme Court of Mauritius and as a teacher for the judicial training institute in Mauritius. Other speakers included the Chief Justice.
Local media in the Seychelles quotes the Chief Justice of Mauritius, Eddy Balancy, as saying how deeply shocked he had been to hear of his former colleague’s death. ‘He was a very dedicated judge who spared no effort to find a solution to a legal problem. He also taught law with passion.’
Among the cases he was deputed to hear was a high-profile case in 2013 when 12 alleged Somali pirates were charged in Mauritius under the Piracy and Maritime Violence Act.
He also presided in the sensational trial of the men charged with strangling a young Irish woman on honeymoon in Mauritius. It was the first time a tourist had been murdered in Mauritius, but in his address to the jury, Judge Fekna said the jurors should not be concerned about the possible ramifications of the crime on the reputation of Mauritius. ‘You have been told that this will have international ramifications and will affect the image of Mauritius … this is not your role,’ Judge Fekna said. ‘You must not allow yourself to be influenced by this, you are not politicians. You have to base yourself on what has happened.’
- Newsletter, Judicial Institute for Africa (Jifa), 8 August 2019