NEWS

High Court Acquits Businessman

A Nausori businessman was acquitted at the High Court in Suva yesterday after he won his appeal against a conviction. Rajendra Narayan was charged with one count of giving false
01 Feb 2018 12:12
High Court Acquits Businessman
Rajendra Narayan (left), with his lawyer Andrew Liverpool at the High Court in Suva on January 31, 2018. Photo: Fonua Talei

A Nausori businessman was acquitted at the High Court in Suva yesterday after he won his appeal against a conviction.

Rajendra Narayan was charged with one count of giving false information to a Police officer on February 16, 2011.

On that particular day, while knowing the information was false and with the intention to cause an investigation against the Police constable, Narayan allegedly told a Sergeant that the constable had demanded money from one of his employees.

After the trial at the Nausori Magistrates Court, Narayan was convicted and sentenced to 18 months and two weeks imprisonment on September 26, 2017.

Narayan filed an appeal against his sentence and conviction on the grounds that the magistrate failed to give proper weight to inconsistent statements made by the prosecution witness who gave statements purporting that money was demanded from his employee by a Police constable.

Narayan also submitted the grounds that the magistrate did not consider his mitigation in that he was the sole breadwinner of his family; he had been operating his business for over 11 years, had co-operated with the Police and was remorseful for his actions.

Further he stated that he is diabetic and requires urgent treatment and constant medical examination.

According to the evidence, the first prosecution witness was employed by Narayan as a driver at the time of the incident.

On December 21, 2010 it was alleged that the witness had an encounter with a Police Constable who checked his driver’s licence after which Narayan complained that the officer had demanded money from his employee.

According to the driver, the officer did not demand money from him, but he included it in his statement because Narayan told him to as he was his employer.

In his evidence, Narayan said he spoke to his employee by phone on the day of the incident, where the employee had told him that an officer had stopped his vehicle and was demanding money from him which Narayan advised him not to give.

In his judgment, High Court Judge, Justice Vincent Perera, said the evidence did not establish the fourth element of the offence.

Moreover, the evidence did not establish beyond reasonable doubt that Narayan knew or believed that the information he reported was false.

Justice Perera allowed Narayan’s appeal against conviction and quashed his sentence.

Accordingly Narayan was acquitted and ordered to be released forthwith.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

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