NATION

Counsels agree with High Court’s translation of alleged seditious article

Defence counsels in the Fiji Times sedition case have all agreed with the court’s translation of the alleged seditious article. This was revealed at the High Court in Suva yesterday
06 Feb 2018 11:16
Counsels agree with High Court’s translation of alleged seditious article
From left: Fiji Times Publisher Hank Arts, Fiji Times Limited Editor-in-Chief Fred Wesley, Nai-Lalakai Editor Anare Ravula (partly obscured) and Nai-Lalakai article writer Josaia Waqabaca. Photo: Fonua Talei

Defence counsels in the Fiji Times sedition case have all agreed with the court’s translation of the alleged seditious article.

This was revealed at the High Court in Suva yesterday when all accused appeared before Judge Justice Thushara Rajasinghe.

The accused, Nai-Lalakai article writer Josaia Waqabaca, Nai-Lalakai Editor Anare Ravula, Fiji Times Limited Editor-in-Chief Fred Wesley, its Publisher Hank Arts and the newspaper company Fiji Times Limited were all represented in court.

Defence lawyer Aman Ravindra-Singh appeared for Waqabaca, Suva lawyer Devanesh Sharma appeared for Ravula, Nicholas Barnes appeared for Wesley and Arts while Wylie Clarke appeared on behalf of the company.

Assistant Director of Public Prosecution Lee Burney said the State would be relying on the whole article instead of the excerpt which contained the alleged seditious statement.

Mr Burney said one needed to look at the article as a whole and the gist of it in order to understand its context and to ascertain whether it is a seditious publication or not.

Justice Rajasinghe questioned Mr Burney if the State was intending to amend the particulars of the offence also. Mr Burnley said the parties should first agree to proposed admitted facts.

He mentioned that Wesley’s and Arts lawyer had indicated that his clients were the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of the Fiji Times respectively.

Mr Burney sought clarification on whether he needed to file a notice of motion as Section 290 of the Criminal Procedure Decree did not specify how pre-trial orders were to be sought.

Waqabaca’s lawyer Mr Ravindra-Singh agreed with the court’s interpretation of the article, adding that he was concerned with the charge and the State’s position to attach the entire article to the charge.

Ravula’s lawyer Mr Sharma also agreed to the court’s interpretation of the article.

Counsel for the third, fourth and fifth accused, Mr Barnes accepted the court’s translation and reserved their opposition to the amendment.

The bail for all the accused was extended and the case was adjourned to February 13, 2018.

The trial proper is scheduled to take place between April 30, 2018 to May 4, 2018.

Edited by Percy Kean

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