Crime & Court

Charge Amendments To Be Filed Before Freesoul Trial Begins On November 17

Freesoul Real Estate Development (Fiji) PTE Limited is charged by the Director of Public Prosecutions with one count each of undertaking unauthorised developments and of failure to comply with a prohibition notice.
06 Aug 2020 13:51
Charge Amendments To Be Filed Before Freesoul Trial Begins On November 17
From left: Freesoul Real Estate Development (Fiji) PTE Limited project officer Saula Sovanivalu, Freesoul Real Estate Development (Fiji) PTE Limited’s lawyer David Toganivalu and Tevita Uluibau Draunidalo Cagilaba outside the Magistrates Court in Suva on August 5, 2020. Photo. Ashna Kumar

The trial for the case involving Freesoul Real Estate Development (Fiji) PTE Limited will be held on November 17-20.

The case was called before Magistrate Seini Puamau at the Magistrates Court in Suva yesterday.

Freesoul Real Estate Development (Fiji) PTE Limited is charged by the Director of Public Prosecutions with one count each of undertaking unauthorised developments and of failure to comply with a prohibition notice.

The state was represented by lawyer Shelyn Kiran from the Office of the DPP while Freesoul Real Estate Development (Fiji) PTE Limited was represented by lawyer David Toganivalu.

The charges:

For the offence of undertaking unauthorised developments, it is alleged that Freesoul Real Estate Development (Fiji) PTE Limited at Wacia, Malolo, in the Western Division carried out development activity which is subject to the Environmental Impact Assessment process without an approved Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report.

For the offence of failure to comply with a prohibition notice, it is alleged that Freesoul Real Estate Development (Fiji) PTE Limited at Wacia, Malolo, in the Western Division failed to comply with a Prohibition Notice issued against the said company on June 1, 2018.

Director of Environment Sandeep Singh (middle), outside the Magistrates Court in Suva on August 5, 2020. Photo. Ashna Kumar

Director of Environment Sandeep Singh (middle), outside the Magistrates Court in Suva on August 5, 2020. Photo. Ashna Kumar

In court yesterday:

Magistrate Puamau ordered the State to file their amended charges in the case on or before close of business of August 12.

Magistrate Puamau has also given time to Mr Toganivalu to file his objections to the amended charges on or before close of business of August 19.

She has fixed a hearing on the amended charge and for further time tabling orders on August 26. She has also ordered the prosecution to address proper particularisation so the court could understand the geographical areas of the said location.

Magistrate Puamau told both parties that there were some legal and factual issues needed to be considered in the case.

She outlined issues below:

  • Whether the Department of Environment had legally obtained the environmental report,
  • Did the department have statutory powers to enter and inspect the site and
  • Whether the department needed special statutory powers to do so

Ms Kiran told the court that there would be two to three witnesses for the prosecution, depending on the amendment of the charges.

Mr Toganivalu told the court that if there was a case to answer, the defence would call four witnesses.

Magistrate Puamau has fixed September 10 for the continuation of hearing on the exclusion of evidence application.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback: ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj

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