Crime & Court

High Court Upholds $1000 Fine On Priest And Followers

They were charged with failure to comply with an order issued by the Permanent Secretary for Health prohibiting social gathering and were produced in the Magistrates Court at Nausori on the same day.
04 Nov 2020 08:57
High Court Upholds $1000 Fine On Priest And Followers

The High Court in Suva has upheld the fine of $1000 each for a Hindu priest and seven followers imposed by the Magistrates Court in Nausori in April this year.

On April 14, 2020, the eight appellants namely Ritu Raj Maharaj, Mukesh Chand, Sunil Dutt, Praveen Kumar Chaudhary, Harishek Raj, Nabinesh Krishna Dutt, Sanjesh Kumar Nand and Arvind Maharaj were found conducting a Hindu prayer ritual for a deceased relative at Wainibokasi River in Nausori.

They were charged with failure to comply with an order issued by the Permanent Secretary for Health prohibiting social gathering and were produced in the Magistrates Court at Nausori on the same day.

The appellants had pleaded guilty to the charge after waiving their right to counsel at the first opportunity when they were produced in the Magistrates Court.

During the sentencing hearing, the learned Magistrate gave the eight appellants the options of either doing community work or paying a fine. Apart from two, the rest of the appellants opted to pay a fine.

They were all fined $1000 each and ordered to pay within seven weeks, in default of payment, two months imprisonment.

The eight appellants were appealing their conviction and sentence in a joint petition of Appeal.

Justice Daniel Goundar, in his ruling yesterday said, to maintain consistency, the learned Magistrate decided to fine all the appellants and did indicate to them that the fine was around $1000 before imposing it.

He said the fine of $1000 was not manifestly excessive in all circumstances of this case.

He said there was no error in the exercise of the sentencing discretion to impose a fine of $1000 each on the appellants.

Justice Goundar dismissed the appeal and said if the appellants had not paid their fines, they must now do so in order to avoid an enforcement of fines inquiry pursuant to Section 39 of the Sentencing and Penalties Act.

He also did not make an order for costs.

Edited by Selita Bolanavanua

Feedback: ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj



FS JAB DRIVE


Get updates from the Fiji Sun, handpicked and delivered to your inbox.


By entering your email address you're giving us permission to send you news and offers. You can opt-out at any time.


Total
Covid 19 - SPC
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
Fiji Sun Instagram
Subscribe-to-Newspaper