NATION

Bring Your Lawyers, Accused Told

Accused persons, Josaia Waqabaca and Anare Ravula were asked to have their lawyers present in court in their next appearance   Nai Lalakai article writer Josaia Waqabaca and editor of
08 Mar 2017 11:00
Bring Your Lawyers, Accused Told

Accused persons, Josaia Waqabaca and Anare Ravula were asked to have their lawyers present in court in their next appearance

 

Nai Lalakai article writer Josaia Waqabaca and editor of the Nai Lalakai Anare Ravula were asked to have their lawyers present in court on the next date.

Judge Justice Thushara Rajasinghe told Waqabaca that yesterday was the third consecutive time that his lawyer, Aman Ravindra-Singh was not present in court.

Fiji Times Limited, publisher Hank Arts, editor-in-chief Fred Wesley, Ravula and Waqabaca are charged with inciting communal antagonism which stems from an article published in the Fiji Times iTaukei edition Nai Lalakai on April 27, 2016.

It was further stated in court that Mr Ravindra-Singh had filed his voir dire grounds on February 7 without Waqabaca’s instructions.

He was not present in court to explain the grounds.

Justice Rajasinghe said the matter should be given to the Chief Registrar for consideration as Mr Ravindra-Singh was not present in court for the third time.

Likewise Ravula’s lawyer, Devanesh Sharma, was also not present in court.

Justice Rajasinghe asked Ravula about the arguments that Mr Sharma made on the previous date about the charge.

Mr Sharma on his last appearance said the second, third, fourth and fifth accused did not make a statement, but rather it was the first accused who did.

For the second argument, Mr Sharma questioned: “Can a statement be compared to a report as the charge says “spread any report” – it questions whether it (charge) should include publishers, newspapers and journalists.

Justice Rajasinghe told the court that state lawyer, Yogesh Prasad, on the last occasion never said that he would amend the charge but, had said that he would take up the arguments made by Mr Sharma to his superiors.

Assistant director for Public Prosecutions Lee Burney said he would have to see if the charge should change to sedition.

Defence lawyer, Faizal Haniff asked the state prosecution to inform the defence lawyers about their decision.

Mr Burney has sought 21 days to consider the charge.

The case was adjourned to March 28, for mention.

Edited by Caroline Ratucadra

Feedback:  jessica.gounder@fijisun.com.fj

 

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