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 Pryde Decides To Appeal Fiji Times Acquital, Says ‘Fundamental Errors’ Need Appeals Court Clarification

 Pryde Decides To Appeal Fiji Times Acquital, Says ‘Fundamental Errors’ Need Appeals Court Clarification
Suva lawyers Wylie Clarke and Nicholas Barnes celebrate with The Fiji Times Publisher Hank Arts and Editor-in-Chief Fred Wesley outside the courthouse on May 22, 2018. Photo: Ronald Kumar
May 25
11:53 2018

 Following a review of the sum­ming up and judgment in the recently decided The Fiji Times case, the Director of Public Prosecu­tions, Christopher Pryde, has decided to file an appeal against the decision of the court to acquit.

Mr Pryde said: “In our view the court has made a number of fundamental er­rors in its interpretation of the law and we now have conflicting High Court de­cisions in Fiji, which require clarifica­tion from the Court of Appeal.

“This was a case that concerned not only the boundaries of freedom of ex­pression by a media organisation but also the rights of vulnerable minority groups in Fiji to lead lives in harmony with their neighbours and free from unlawful discrimination.

“The court agreed that the State had shown there was a criminal case to an­swer but in our view the court failed to give adequate weight to the consti­tutional limitations as they relate to what is commonly referred to as “hate speech”.

“Freedom of expression should never be used to protect advocacy for hate speech.

“It is important that the courts are engaged in establishing the correct balance between freedoms of expres­sion on the one hand and the protec­tions afforded by the Constitution that give people the right to live in harmony with each other and be free from un­lawful discrimination,” Mr Pryde said.

Source: Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions

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