OCEANIA Football Confederation general secretary Tai Nicholas has to pay a fine of $15,000 after the High Court in Suva convicted him on his own guilty plea to contempt of court.
Judge Justice William Calanchini also ordered that Nicholas pay the costs of the applicant, which were fixed summarily in the amount of $3500.
The fines are to be paid to the High Court Civil Registry and the Attorney-General's Office, respectively, within 28 days.
In 2011, Nicholas made some comments to a reporter of the New Zealand-based Sunday Star Times responding to questions on the eligibility of former Fiji Football Association president Dr Muhammed Shamsud-Dean Sahu Khan's official position in the OFC and FIFA (International Federation of Football Association).
The article that contained the comments was published verbatim in this newspaper the following day.
Those comments, according to an affidavit filed by the Attorney-General's office in November 2011, were said to "scandalise the court and the judiciary of Fiji in that they were a scurrilous attack on the members of the judiciary, thereby lowering the authority of the judiciary and the court".
Justice Calanchini said he accepted that Nicholas, 44, did not instigate the interview with the reporter over the telephone.
He said he also accepted that he did eventually plead guilty.
"On the other hand, as previously noted, the contempt in this case was deliberate and serious," Justice Calanchini said.
"The seriousness of the contempt, unambiguously aimed, as it was, at all the judges of the courts in Fiji, outweighs any consideration in favour of not proceeding to a conviction," he said.
Justice Calanchini also ordered that Nicholas arrange for an apology directed to the judiciary of Fiji to be first drafted and submitted to the court for approval prior to being published in The Fiji Times within 28 days from the date of this judgement.