Crime & Court

Navua Magistrate Tells Off 13 For Curfew Breaches And Social Gatherings

He reprimanded them saying that the COVID-19 crisis was a “hard time” for Fiji, and that they must have the patience for it to end before they could “drink as much as they can”.
09 Apr 2020 12:17
Navua Magistrate Tells Off 13 For Curfew Breaches And Social Gatherings
TOP L-R: Alveen Narayan, Saten Kumar, Sanjay Ram BOTTOM L-R: Sanjay Prasad, Mukesh Chand , Josemo Mataniwai and Kunal Kumar outside Navua Court on April 7, 2020.

A Magistrate has told 13 people who breached the nationwide curfew hours and social gathering ban to respect the executive order and be patient.

At the Magistrates Court in Navua, Magistrate Chaitanya Lakshman told the 13 accused that people in authority made the law for a “purpose” and that is to benefit all Fijians.

He reprimanded them saying that the COVID-19 crisis was a “hard time” for Fiji, and that they must have the patience for it to end before they could “drink as much as they can”.

Magistrate Lakshman said: “We are living in a small community, so we need to care for each other”.

He added that they must stop wasting their time playing around with the law.

The 13 people appeared in court yesterday for consuming liquor, kava and breaching the imposed curfew hours during the COVID-19 pandemic.

They appeared before Magistrate Chaitanya Lakshman.

Social gathering cases

On April 6, 2020, Mukesh Chand, 32, labourer, Avishak Ram, 21, student, Vinal Prasad, 21, soccer player, Moneet Deo, 29, school teacher, Loreen Singh, 20, and Rinesh, 22, were found gathering for the purpose of consuming liquor.

They were each charged with one count of disobedience of a lawful order. All accused pleaded guilty to the offence and sought the court’s forgiveness.

Police prosecutor acting inspector Monish Chandra told the court that at 11pm on Monday they received information of a gathering at Chand’s place at Tokotoko Highway, Navua.

The Police arrested them for permitting a social gathering.

In mitigation, they told the court they were first offenders and remorseful.

Magistrate Lakshman sentenced Prasad, Singh and Ram to three months imprisonment suspended for two years.

While Chand, Deo and Rinesh were fined $400 to pay within two months.

The court will review their payment on June 29.

In a separate case, on April 6, Kunal Kumar, Sanjay Ram, and Abinesh Ram were arrested for drinking alcohol at Naitata, Navua.

They were charged with one count of disobedience of a lawful order.

All accused pleaded guilty to the offence and sought the court’s forgiveness.

The three were fined $400 to pay within two months. Their case was adjourned to June 29.

Also on April 6, Saten Kumar, 50, Sanjay Prasad, 49, and Alvin Narayan, 30, were arrested for drinking grog at Waidradra settlement in Navua at 3pm.

They were arrested for participating in a social gathering which is currently banned nationwide.

In mitigation, they too told the court that they were first offenders and remorseful.

All of them pleaded guilty to the offence and sought the court’s forgiveness.

They were sentenced to three months imprisonment suspended for 18 months.

Breaching curfew charge

Josemo Mataniwai, 52, from Wainadoi Village was sentenced to three months imprisonment suspended for 18 months for breaching the curfew order.

He was charged with one count of disobedience of a lawful order.

Police prosecutor acting Inspector Monish Chandra told the court that Mataniwai had breached the curfew hours and was found walking along Namuka-i-Lau Village on Monday night.

Mataniwai said he was going to visit his mother who lives in Qauia Village in Lami.

In mitigation, Mataniwai, a first offender begged the court’s forgiveness. He pleaded guilty to the offence. He was sentenced to three months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

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