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Lawyers At ODPP Draft Charges Without Reading The Law: Judge Justice Thushara Rajasinghe

Many lawyers at the Director of Public Prosecutions Office draft charges without reading the law, says High Court Judge Justice Thushara Rajasinghe. Justice Rajasinghe made this comment in the case of two sisters facing human trafficking charges. Seta Sanjana Ram and Geeta Anjana Chandar are charged with 16 counts of obtaining property by deception, 17 counts of trafficking in persons, and two counts of money laundering.
05 Apr 2022 18:00
Lawyers At ODPP Draft Charges Without Reading The Law: Judge Justice Thushara Rajasinghe
Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Many lawyers at the Director of Public Prosecutions Office draft charges without reading the law, says High Court Judge Justice Thushara Rajasinghe.

Justice Rajasinghe made this comment in the case of two sisters facing human trafficking charges.

Seta Sanjana Ram and Geeta Anjana Chandar are charged with 16 counts of obtaining property by deception, 17 counts of trafficking in persons, and two counts of money laundering.

 

The two were alleged to have facilitated the exit of 17 Fijian citizens who were exploited and became victims of human trafficking in New Zealand between April and November 2014.

In facilitating their exit they were wreckless as to whether the complainants would be exploited either by them or another person.

 

Money Laundering Charges
It was alleged that Ram between February 2014 and May 2014, engaged in a transaction involving $2,525 that is the proceeds of crime.

This is by transferring the funds from her Bank of Baroda account to Australia and New Zealand accounts belonging to Faroz Ali and Chandra, knowing or ought reasonably to know that the same amounts were derived or released directly some other form of unlawful activity, which was obtaining money by deception.

 

Obtaining Property By Deception Charges
Between April and November 2014, Ram and Chandra allegedly obtained a total sum of $52,142 from the 17 complainants.

In court yesterday, ODPP prosecutor Sahil Shiraz said that the DPP intended to file a nolle prosequi against Chandra to discontinue the proceedings.

He said hat the State wished to amend the charge for Ram reducing it to general dishonesty obtaining a gain.

 

He further said the State was removing the elements of human trafficking from the case as the witnesses were not in Fiji and there was no link of recklessness to the offence.

Justice Rajasinghe said the court set and fixed six weeks of trial for the matter.

He further instructed that the State get in touch with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order for the State to sort evidence from the witnesses in New Zealand.

He said this was not the first time the DPP failed to properly work on a case.

 

Feedback: ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj



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