Fiji General Election 2022 | NEWS

Complaint by Mick Beddoes Dismissed

The Supervisor of Elections [‘SoE’] has dismissed the complaint by Mick Beddoes against the FijiFirst Leader and General Secretary.
27 Nov 2022 12:20
Complaint by Mick Beddoes Dismissed
Mick Beddoes.

The Supervisor of Elections [‘SoE’] has dismissed the complaint by Mick Beddoes against the FijiFirst Leader and General Secretary.

In dismissing the complaint, the SoE found that:

Mr. Beddoes is incorrect in his assertions in relation to the statements uttered by Mr. Bainimarama during the FijiFirst campaign rally in Nausori. Having reviewed the statements, it noted that Mr. Bainimarama was in fact providing his opinion on the aftermath of any person attempting to enter into property that is currently classified as Freehold.

FijiFirst, in its letter has offered further explanations (which are legally valid) supporting the opinion offered by its leader.

 

Mr. Beddoes did not provide any evidence in his complaint that the utterances by the FijiFirst leader urged the commission or intended that the offence incited be committed.

Infact, it appears that Mr. Beddoes has been victim of opinion of others published in some media instead.

Further to this, it is impossible to find that Mr Bainimarama intended, insinuated, or invited any person to commit or omit taking such action from the allegations and evidence contained in the complaint.

 

The FEO also notes that the legal test for inflammatory speeches requires that;

  1. The speech is “directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action,” AND
  2. The speech is “likely to incite or produce such action.”

(Brandenburg v Ohio 395 US 444 (1969))

The complaint from Mr. Beddoes does not provide any evidence that either of the above tests are proven.

The complainants must ensure that they support their complaints with a comprehensive list of evidence to ensure that the FEO is able to deal with it adequately.

In this case, the FEO did not receive any response from Mr. Beddoes to the Response from FijiFirst.

 

We find that the analysis by Mr Bainimarama in his capacity as the leader of the FijiFirst during the campaign period of the outcome of some of the other parties’ campaign promises does not tantamount to inciting or threatening a person for the purposes of the discussion that happened during the campaign rally.

 

The statement merely amounts to the opinion of Mr Bainimarama on the possibilities, if such policies are introduced by a political party in this general election.

Therefore, the allegation against Mr Bainimarama is dismissed as there was no breach of section 116(3)(c) of the Electoral Act.

 

The FEO also notes that the complaints against Mr Aiyaz-Sayed Khaiyum contains factual inaccuracies and is mischievous.

It is noted that Mr Aiyaz-Sayed Khaiyum acted in his capacity as the Minister responsible for Communications while launching Free Wi-Fi and digital TV at Lautoka market and that this is a budgeted initiative.

It appears to be an attempt to restrain ministers from discharging their legal functions under the guise of campaign law breach.

 

The FEO has already, in previous matters outlined that the law does not prohibit any person from continuing their functions in their official capacity and therefore, this complaint is dismissed accordingly.

 

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj



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