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14 Accused Found Guilty of Sedition

14 Accused Found Guilty of Sedition
November 10
11:31 2017

The 14 people charged in the Nadroga-Navosa sedition case have been found guilty by the Lautoka High Court.

They were convicted of intending to form the Nadroga-Navosa Sovereign Christian State.

Justice Sunil Sharma delivered his ruling yesterday in a lengthy judgement.

Hearing date

The sentence hearing has been set for November 24 while the defence teams and prosecutions have been given till November 15 to file their submissions before sentencing.

The 14 are Ratu Inoke Tasere, Jimi Koroibete, Seru Kunalagi, Adi Cuvu Gavidi Atama, Ulaiasi Rabua Tuivono, Peniasi Naqau, Semi Tanikili, Ratu Osea Bolawaqatabu, Ratu Tevita Khaikhainabokolawale Makutu, Mosese Navaci, Eroni Rikoriko, Alifereti Nakuinivou, Alifereti Gonewai and Jorama Ratulevu.

Charges

They were charged with two counts each of sedition under section 67 (1) (a) of the Crimes Act 2009.

While all accused were found guilty by the assessors on the first count, a mixed verdict was given by them on the second count for Kunalagi, Naqau, Ratu Osea, Ratu Tevita and Nakuinivou.

After analysing the evidence, Justice Sharma overturned the assessors’ mixed verdict and found all guilty on the second count except for Ratu Osea whom he found not guilty.

Justice Sharma had reiterated that by signing the Nadroga-Navosa Sovereign State document, the intent was there to create instability and fear among the people as there was already an elected government in place.

Bail conditions

Semi Babitu of the DPP’s Office requested the accused be remanded in custody till November 24 because of the tariffs for sentencing which is from suspended sentencing to three years.

All three defence lawyers Aman Ravindra Singh, Sala Kunatuba and Filimoni Vosarogo submitted the bail should remain.

Ms Kunatuba represents Adi Cuvu. Mr Vosarogo represents Naqau. Mr Singh represents the rest.

Assurance

They gave their personal assurances that their clients would turn up for the sentencing date.

Singh said the case had been ongoing for two years and the accused persons all had an impeccable record as far as attending court.

Mrs Kunatuba said it was a chance for her client to return to her family as she had five children to look after.

“I give this court my assurance that my client will attend the next court date,” Mrs Kunatuba said.

Mr Vosarogo also backed his client.

He said his client had never breached any bail conditions.

He gave his personal assurance that his client would attend court.                           

Justice Sharma ruled that the 14 remain on bail on the existing conditions.

Edited by Mohammed Zulfikar

Feedback:  charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

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