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Defence Lawyer Claims Not Been Given Right To Have Proper Discussions With Clients

Defence Lawyer Claims Not Been Given Right To Have Proper Discussions With Clients
August 01
11:25 2018

Defence lawyer Wasu Pillay says he is being denied the right to have discussions with his clients.

Mr Pillay is the lawyer for the Australian couple allegedly involved in the importation of $40 million worth of illicit drugs along with undeclared firearms and ammunition.

“If I’m going to the Remand Centre, I cannot take any materials with me. I cannot even leave documents for them to read through,” he said.

Mr Pillay made these comments before Justice Sunil Sharma at the High Court in Lautoka yesterday.

Mr Pillay said that he had to seek permission from the escorting officers to have simple documents signed by his clients. The accused are John and Yvette Nikolic.

“They are not convicted prisoners. They have the right to read materials disclosed to them. If the state has decided to remand them, then the state has to accord them with basic liberties and rights that are in the constitution,” said Mr Pillay.

He also said that it was very important that his clients were made aware of everything that was happening to them.

“If you don’t let them read through their disclosures and only allow them to read the Bible, how will we prepare for the defence. If you can’t afford them their basic liberties, let them go,” said Mr Pillay.

Justice Sharma considered Mr Pillay’s application and said that his clients would be given their rights.

Mr Pillay also said that he was only given 30 minutes with his clients, which was insufficient and requested for it to be increased to an hour and half.

He also said that when in the library with his clients, officers would not want to go outside therefore giving them access to confidential discussions that would be going on between a lawyer and his clients.

He also requested if officers could be placed outside the High Court library.

Justice Sharma gave seven days for the State to file their disclosures, extended the discussion time with the defence’s clients to one and a half hours at the High Court library, where escorting officers should allow for their privacy.

The prosecution was represented by State lawyer Shirlene Kiran. The State had requested for 14 days to file the disclosures but were only given seven days.

Both accused have had their cases adjourned to August 7, and their remand period has also been extended.

The couple have both been charged separately with one count each of illicit importation of drugs, unlawful possession of illicit drugs and failure to declare arms and ammunition to a Customs officer.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback:  yogesh.chandra@fijisun.com.fj

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