Nai Lalakai Trial: Apply what is fair and just

The defence lawyers for The Fiji Times, Publisher Hank Arts and Editor in Chief Fred Wesley, Queens Counsel Marc Corlett (centre), The Fiji Times lawyer Wylie Clarke (right) and Nicholas Barnes of Munro Leys outside the Suva High Court yesterday. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

TO make a man liable to imprisonment for an offence which he does not know that he has committed and which he is unable to prevent is repugnant to the ordinary man’s conception of justice and brings the law into contempt.

Queens Counsel Marc Corlett said this while delivering his closing submissions at the High Court in Suva today in the Fiji Times sedition trial.

While addressing the three assessors of the trial, Mr Corlett who is representing the Fiji Times editor-in-chief, Fred Wesley and the Fiji Times Publisher Hank Arts told the assessors to apply their ordinary sense of what is fair and what is just.

“A man cannot be guilty of a crime if he has not done anything wrong; a man cannot be guilty unless he intends to commit a crime, a man cannot be guilty if he knows nothing of the crime until after it is committed,” Mr Corlett said.

Mr Corlett however pointed out three questions which were related to his clients – the first being, does Hank Arts review the letters that are sent to the Nai Lalakai editor and decide which ones get printed?

If Hank Arts does not decide which letters to the Nai Lalakai editor would be published, who does?

If the editor of the Nai Lalakai is the one who decides which letters would be published, does he show these letters to the editor-in-chief Mr Wesley before they are published?

He said all the evidence covered by him shows that neither Mr Arts nor Mr Wesley knew anything  about this letter until they were arrested.

The trial continues before Justice Thushara Rajasinghe.