NATION

Farmer Waits On Appeal Against 40-Month Jail Term

Suspect claimed that the lawyer who had represented him suggested if he appealed, he could get a higher sentencing. A 36-year-old Taveuni farmer convicted for bribing a Police officer with
09 Jan 2018 11:00
Farmer Waits On Appeal Against 40-Month Jail Term

Suspect claimed that the lawyer who had represented him suggested if he appealed, he could get a higher sentencing.

A 36-year-old Taveuni farmer convicted for bribing a Police officer with $50 to release a suspect is awaiting the judgment on his appeal against his sentencing.

This will be delivered next Monday.

Titoko Buli who was sentenced by the Labasa Magistrates Court to 40 months imprisonment in 2016 appeared before Judge Justice Daniel Goundar yesterday.

He told the court that he had filed an appeal against his sentence on November 17, 2016, and then withdrew on December 16, 2016.

Justice Goundar questioned him on why he withdrew his application.

He claimed in court that a Legal Aid Commission lawyer who had represented him then had suggested that if he appealed against his sentence then it was likely that he could get a higher sentencing.

Justice Goundar then asked him what changed his mind.

Buli said he realised the sentencing was too long for him and he wanted to be released.

He also told the court that his wife divorced him while being imprisoned.

Justice Goundar then asked him about his bribery conviction.

Buli explained that he wanted to take the suspect, who was a mechanic, out of the Taveuni Police Station to paint his vehicle because it had to be passed by the Land Transport Authority the next day.

Justice Goundar asked the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) lawyer Rajneel Maharaj about his position on the appeal against sentencing application.

Mr Maharaj told the court that there could have been a possible error made by the learned magistrate when sentencing the accused.

“Buli pleaded guilty and according to the amount involved in this, bribery is something to think about,” Mr Maharaj said.

Justice Goundar told Mr Maharaj that he would wait for a formal submission before he makes a ruling on his judgment on January 15.

Edited by Caroline Ratucadra

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