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Judge Queries Bribery Penalty Provisions

Judge Queries Bribery Penalty Provisions
April 25
13:14 2018

How can man pay fine immediately when he’s been jailed? asks Justice Calanchini

Concerns were raised by Court of Ap­peal judge, Justice William Calan­chini, yesterday on the penalty provi­sions for charges of bribery.

Justice Calanchini raised the concerns dur­ing the hearing of leave to appeal sentence and conviction for former acting Police in­spector Timoci Naulu.

Lawyer Eroni Maopa represented Naulu and submitted that Naulu was sentenced to three years imprisonment on October 17, 2016, for two counts of bribery and was or­dered to pay a $1500 fine immediately in de­fault for 150 days imprisonment.

Justice Calanchini questioned the Fiji In­dependent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) lawyer as to how an incarcerated person was expected to pay a fine after be­ing sentenced. FICAC lawyer Francis Pulei­wai said Naulu was charged under the Pre­vention of Bribery Act, which prescribed a penalty of a maximum of $500,000 fine and a maximum prison term of seven years.

Justice Calanchini said it was physically impossible and unfair. He then queried if an­yone was alert during sentencing to inquire as to how a person would pay for the fine after being imprisoned.

Ms Puleiwai said they had not thought about it and for that reason they were con­senting for leave to appeal sentence.

Naulu’s lawyer submitted that the sentence was harsh and excessive. Mr Maopa said his client was alleged to have received a bribe of FJD$200 and AUD$200 from the complainant, Kamlesh Kumar. He said Naulu was investi­gating Kumar at the time and Kumar had in­dicated that he wanted to make a donation to the Police Family Day. The court then heard that Naulu met Kumar at a restaurant where he accepted the money and he was subse­quently arrested by FICAC officials.

The Court of Appeal will deliver a judgment on notice.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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