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Bulitavu, Karunaratne In For Two

Bulitavu, Karunaratne In For Two
Former SODELPA parliamentarian Mosese Bulitavu and Fiji United Freedom Party president Jagath Karunaratne outside the court house in Suva on April 30, 2018. Photo: Losirene Lacanivalu
May 01
10:00 2018

Both are convicted of one count each of sedition and handed a custodial sentence with a non-parole period of 18 months.

An application to grant bail pending proposed appeal and to suspend the execution of sentence on a former Opposition parliamentarian, and party president was denied by the Suva Magistrates Court yesterday.

SODELPA MP Mosese Bulitavu, 35, and Fiji United Freedom Party president Karunaratne, 50, who were both convicted of one count each of sedition, were handed a custodial sentence with a non-parole period of 18 months by Suva Magistrate Deepika Prakash.

Karunaratne is sentenced to two years, five months and 16 days imprisonment with a non-parole period of 18 months. Bulitavu is sentenced to two years, five months and 13 days imprisonment with a non-parole period of 18 months.

Judgment on the matter was delivered on March 26 this year where the court found Bulitavu and Karunaratne guilty.

Karunaratne was represented by lawyers Aman-Ravindra Singh and Filimoni Vosarogo while Bulitavu was represented by Barbara Malimali and Lynda Tabuya.

In mitigation, the court heard that Karunaratne was married, enrolled in a Masters of Law Programme at the University of the South Pacific, the charge had been pending for a long period and took a toll on him.

For Bulitavu the court heard that he was married with four children aged four to 12 years. He has apologised to the court and the Prime Minister and had no previous criminal records.

However, Magistrate Prakash, in delivering her sentence, said the court found that there were evidence of planning on the offence.

Karunaratne’s lawyer, Mr Vosarogo, immediately made an application after the sentencing to grant bail on the accused on the proposed appeal and to suspend the execution of the sentence.

He asked for the courts discretion and indulgence to consider and allow an application for a convicted person to be bailed, pending the determination of the appeal to the High Court.

Ms Malimali, Bulitavu’s representative, concurred with Mr Vosarogo and said the matter had been ongoing for the past six and a half years, the writ of elections was yet to be issued and they would try to move quickly with the appeal.

She said they had a good prospect of being successful with the appeal, and they were seeking the court’s discretion.

However, State lawyer Lisiate Fotofili objected to the application saying that the Magistrate’s decision was already reflected in the judgment.

Mr Fotofili said the matter was best to be appealed to the High Court.

Magistrate Prakash refused the bail application and said that there were no exceptional circumstances. Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback: losirene.lacanivalu@fijisun.com.fj

 

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