NEWS

IN COURT: 14 Jailed In Ra Sedition Case

  Fourteen of the 16 people originally charged in the Ra sedition case were yesterday jailed. First accused Ratu Epeli Niudamu was given a suspended jail sentence. The 16th accused,
30 Sep 2017 10:30
IN COURT: 14 Jailed In Ra  Sedition Case
Tui Nalawa Ratu Epeli Niudamu (left), with his lawyer Kevueli Tunidau outside the High Court in Lautoka on September 29, 2017. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

 

Fourteen of the 16 people originally charged in the Ra sedition case were yesterday jailed.

First accused Ratu Epeli Niudamu was given a suspended jail sentence. The 16th accused, Ilisapeci Natau, was acquitted during the trial because she had refused to sign the Uluda Declaration, Ra Sovereign Christian State Document and the Ra Petition to the International Court of Justice documents.

Lautoka High Court judge Aruna Aluthge, while jailing accused 2 to accused 15 and giving accused 1 a suspended sentence, said they were all educated people of the community.

“Most were former civil servants and people looked up to them in their respective communities,” he said.

“Their actions could have caused disaffection or discontent against the elected government. They knew what they were doing when they signed the documents.”

All the 15 accused persons were found guilty on all counts of sedition but Apolosi Qaliqawa was convicted of one count of sedition only.

Nanise Kasami Nagusuca and Waisea Duailima were charged with four counts each of sedition.

Accused One was represented by Kevueli Tunidau while accused 2 to 15 were represented by Aman Ravindra Singh.

 

Details of the sentencing:

1st accused Ratu Epeli Niudamu:

Justice Aluthge said the accused had regretted his actions before the court and in mitigation had submitted his character reference.

He had initially sentenced him to two years imprisonment but later deducted 12 months after considering his mitigation from his character reference.

He suspended his sentence as the penalty was less than two years.

The judge said that the counsel for 2-15 accused exercised the right to remain silent and did not take any of his clients to the witness box.

 

2nd accused Sailasa Malani:

He was sentenced to two years imprisonment with 18 months to be served and the remaining six months suspended for two years with no non-parole period set.

 

 

3rd accused Sereima Wairoaroa Malani:

She was sentenced to two years imprisonment with 18 months to be served and the remaining six months suspended for two years with no non-parole period set.

 

4th accused Nanise Kasami Nagusuca:

She was sentenced to three years imprisonment with 24 months to be served and the remaining 12 months suspended for two years with no non-parole period set.

 

5th accused Waisea Duailima:

He was sentenced to three years imprisonment with 24 months to be served and the remaining 12 months suspended for two years with no non-parole period set.

 

6th accused Isikeli Waisega Kabakoro:

He was sentenced to two years imprisonment with 18 months to be served and the remaining six months suspended for two years with no non-parole period set.

7th accused Laisiasa Mocevakaca:

Sentenced to two years imprisonment with 18 months to be served and the remaining six months suspended for two years with no non-parole period set.

8th accused Emosi Toga:

Sentenced to two years imprisonment with 18 months to be served and the remaining six months suspended for two years with no non-parole period set.

9th accused Waisake Racaca:

He was sentenced to two years imprisonment with 18 months to be served and the remaining six- months suspended for two years with no non-parole period set.

10th accused Samuela Ligabalavu:

He was sentenced to two years imprisonment with 18 months to be served and the remaining six months suspended for two years with no non-parole period set.

11th accused Mikaele Gonerara:

He was sentenced to two years imprisonment with 18 months to be served and the remaining six months suspended for two years with no non-parole period set.

12th accused Josefa Natau:

He was sentenced to two years imprisonment with 18 months to be served and the remaining six months suspended for two years with no non-parole period set.

13th accused Suluweti Lotu Waqalala:

She was sentenced to two years imprisonment with 18 months to be served and the remaining six months suspended for two years with no non-parole period set.

14th accused Ulaiyasi Rabua Tuivomo:

He was sentenced to two years imprisonment with 20 months to be served and the remaining four months suspended for two years with no non-parole period set.

15th accused Apolosi Qalilawa:

He was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment with 12 months to be served and the remaining six months suspended for two years with no non-parole period set.

After the sentencing, the 14th accused, Ulaiyasi Rabua Tuivomo, made a request to the judge to set others free and he would go in for life.

The judge replied saying that it was not possible.

Ratu Epeli, the Tui Nalawa, said he was happy for not going to jail. He thanked his lawyer Kevueli Tunidau and the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

“We have accepted the final decision made by the court,” he said.

His lawyer, Kevueli Tunidau, said the Ra Sedition trial had been a long trial.

“We spent almost five months for the trials which is a first of its kind in Fiji,” Mr Tunidau said.

“It was not easy defending a case with strong political overtones, but I am happy that my client has been granted the suspended sentence.”

 

 

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback:  kathrin.krishna@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
error: