FIJI NEWS

Nemani can be tried in absentia: High Court

By FONUA TALEI The Suva High Court yesterday passed a ruling for the trial of former Fiji National Provident Fund deputy general manager Foana Nemani to proceed in her absence.
04 Sep 2012 12:34

By FONUA TALEI

The Suva High Court yesterday passed a ruling for the trial of former Fiji National Provident Fund deputy general manager Foana Nemani to proceed in her absence.
Justice Priyantha Fernando informed the Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption (FICAC) that Nemani waived her right to be present at the trial.
The court heard that Nemani deliberately and voluntarily absconded from court by leaving for New Zealand and chose not to exercise her right to be present or had given instructions for legal representation.
Justice Fernando mentioned that the accused had sent a letter from New Zealand to the chief registrar of the High Court seeking time, however failed to inform the court thereafter of any reason preventing her from attending court as per her bail conditions.
He went on to agree with the submission made by FICAC that the delay would cause permanent harm to the prosecution’s case, the justice system and the general public would lose confidence in the system.
However the court heard that Nemani’s rights have to be safeguarded at all times during the trial in absentia. The court heard that the presiding judge must warn assessors that Nemani’s absence should not be an admission of guilt and added nothing to the prosecution’s case. Justice Fernando said the summing up should also include steps to expose the weaknesses of prosecution’s case. The case has been adjourned to October 4 for pre-trial conference. Nemani is charged with one count of extortion by public officer and one count of abuse of office.




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