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Naidu’s Contempt of Court Plea Deferred

Naidu appeared before Judge Justice Jude Nanayakkara at the Civil High Court in Suva yesterday.
14 Jul 2022 17:17
Naidu’s Contempt of Court Plea Deferred
Lawyer accused of contempt of court Richard Naidu outside the Civil High Court in Suva on July 13, 2022. Photo: Ashna Kumar

The Fiji Law Society will make a formal application to intervene in the Contempt of Court proceedings filed by the Attorney-General against Suva lawyer Richard Naidu.

Naidu appeared before Judge Justice Jude Nanayakkara at the Civil High Court in Suva yesterday.

He was represented by a team of lawyers consisting of Munro Leys partner Jon Apted, Parshotam Lawyers managing partner Sub- has Parshotam, Shekinah Law Fiji principal and founder Laurel Vaurasi, Vosarogo Lawyers principal and founder Filimoni Vosarogo, O’Driscoll & Co principal Gavin O’Driscoll and Sherani & Co managing partner Hemendra Nagin.

 

Naidu is alleged to have scandalised and ridiculed the Courts and the Judiciary in a Facebook post where he made comments in relation to a judgment delivered by the High Court in Suva.

The A-G was represented by lawyers Devanesh Sharma and Gul Fatima from R Patel Lawyers.

Fiji Law Society president Wylie Clarke told the Court that on behalf of the Fiji Law Society, he would make a formal application to intervene in the proceedings.

Mr Apted told the Court that his instructions were that the re-dated motion served by the applicant when received did not contain the statement and quoted Order52 Rule 3 (3) of the High Court Rules.

He said his client was not properly served.

National Federation Party leader Biman Prasad and NFP Parliamentarian Lenora Qereqeretabua outside the Civil High Court in Suva on July 13, 2022. Photo: Ashna Kumar

National Federation Party leader Biman Prasad and NFP Parliamentarian Lenora Qereqeretabua outside the Civil High Court in Suva on July 13, 2022. Photo: Ashna Kumar

Mr Sharma opposed the claims made by Mr Apted and said that the defendant was served on June 30, with a Notice of Motion, including the statement and affidavit in support.

He said the matter was for a plea and a plea should be taken.

He said the High Court Rules clearly stated that it was the motion ordered to be re-dated and served and they had complied with it.

Mr Apted then said when his client was served with the Notice of Motion without the statement, the Motion was defective.

Fiji Law Society president Wylie Clarke outside the Civil High Court in Suva on July 13, 2022. Photo: Ashna Kumar

Fiji Law Society president Wylie Clarke outside the Civil High Court in Suva on July 13, 2022. Photo: Ashna Kumar

He also told the Court that he intended to apply to set aside the exparte orders and sought seven days to formally apply.

Mr Apted questioned the Court whether a plea was necessary, stating that previously in other cases, only on two occasions the plea was taken.

Justice Nanayakkara said the case was of criminal nature and the plea had to be recorded by the Court.

He ruled that the service of the re-dated Notice of Motion served was adequate.

Mr Sharma said the matter was of contempt and that leave had been granted by the Court for proceedings.

 

He asked the Court to deal with the plea as quickly as possible.

Mr Apted said he did not see why there was a rush in the matter as the article in question was published in February.

He said there were no steps taken from February till now and now the applicant wanted to expedite the matter.

Mr Clarke also told the Court that the matter was of great public and general importance and should not be rushed.

Justice Nanayakkara deferred Naidu’s plea and ordered Mr Apted to file his application by the close of business on Friday.

The matter will be called for mention on July 20.

 

Feedback: ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj



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