Crime & Court

Lawyer Ordered To Pay PM, A-G $60K Each As Compensation For Defamation

Former Fiji Labour Party parliamentary leader and lawyer, Aman Ravindra-Singh, was ordered by the High Court in Suva to pay $120,000.
25 Jul 2020 09:30
Lawyer Ordered To Pay PM, A-G $60K Each As Compensation For Defamation
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Former Fiji Labour Party parliamentary leader and lawyer, Aman Ravindra-Singh, was ordered by the High Court in Suva to pay $120,000 in compensation to Prime Minister Voreqe Bainmarama and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum for defamatory claims made on social media.

This is to be paid within 30 days.

He was ordered to pay $60,000 each to Mr Bainimarama and Mr Sayed-Khaiyum, and publish apologies in all local daily newspapers.

Ravindra-Singh was told by the court that one must not defame another for his own political gain. He wrote an article on his Facebook page in 2015 titled Regime Dirty Politics in which he claimed that Mr Bainimarama and Mr Sayed-Khaiyum had plotted a series of temple sacrileges in order to incite fear.

Aman Ravindra-Singh.

Aman Ravindra-Singh.

Judge Justice Lyone Senivaratne in the judgment said that the allegations were serious, and should not have been made unless they were true and could be verified.

He said because of such allegations Ravindra-Singh could have caused readers to lose faith in Mr Bainimarama and Mr Sayed-Khaiyum.

“The people would not have voted for him if they did not have the confidence in him that he would discharge his duties honestly and efficiently,” Justice Senivaratne said.

“No courts will have the sympathy towards those who violate the rights of others in the guise of exercising their rights given by the Constitution.”

According to the orders of the court, Ravindra-Singh had to immediately remove the subject article from his Facebook page, pay $8000 in court costs, and stated that Mr Bainimarama and Mr Sayed-Khaiyum were entitled to an interest of six per cent from March 7, 2018, to the date of the judgment yesterday.

Edited by Caroline Ratucadra

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