EVERY man and woman, be they famous or not, are equal before the court, says High Court in Suva Judge Justice Paul Madigan.
Justice Madigan made the comment yesterday while dismissing a soccer player's appeal against conviction and sentence.
Peniame Drova was convicted in the Nasinu Magistrate's Court on March 20 of one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm after trial in absentia.
He was sentenced the same day to a term of immediate imprisonment for six months.
The facts elicited at trial were that the appellant being a soccer player for the Rewa soccer team was residing in a downstairs flat in Nakasi while the victim who was the caretaker of the flats lived upstairs.
On October 21 in 2010, all of the Rewa team were downstairs and were drinking beer. Knowing that this was not allowed, the caretaker called the boss to inform him of the situation.
Drova was frustrated at the caretaker's action and assaulted him, resulting in the victim being rendered unconscious.
He was interviewed under caution by police where he admitted punching the victim, holding his neck and pushing him down and knocking him unconscious for 10 to 15 minutes.
Justice Madigan said there had been no attempt by the appellant (Drova) to reconcile with the victim up to trial.
In his appeal, Drova claimed the learned magistrate erred in law and fact in allowing the prosecution's application for trial in absentia.
He claimed the magistrate erred in law and fact in sentencing him in absentia.
Drova also claimed the magistrate erred in law and fact in failing to take into consideration relevant matters when sentencing him in absentia.
Justice Madigan said the sentence was correct and perfectly justifiable.