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Blanchflower maintains there was no error to the law

Nanise Loanakadavu
Wednesday, February 27, 2013

FICAC's Queen's Counsel Michael Blanchflower yesterday said there was a good review of the summary of evidence by the judge who presided over the trial of former prime minister Laisenia Qarase.

Mr Blanchflower, in response to the appeal submissions of Qarase's Queen's Counsel, Remy van de Wiel, said there was no error of law, and the terms of law were understandable and the law followed.

Discussing Qarase's failure to declare his interest in the allotment of certain FHL shares, Mr Blanchflower said that in his evidence, former Fijian Holdings Limited secretary Sitiveni Weleilakeba told the court he would have included any declaration in the minutes if it was made.

He told the Fiji Court of Appeal there were no objections to the summing up by the trial judge and to the bundle of documents provided as evidence in the trial.

He said the assessors were acutely aware of the time frame when the incident happened in 1991 and 1992 because they were provided with first-hand evidence and credible witnesses.

In his submissions before the three Court of Appeal judges, Mr Blanchflower said the three assessors in the trial deliberated on the evidence for two and a half hours.

He asked if the defence lawyers knew that the judge who presided over the trial did not do a proper analysis of all the information provided and did not relate law to the facts, why was he not questioned then.

Mr Blanchflower said that after the summing up by the judge there was silence in court.

He said the defence lawyer at the time of the trial did not bring up any further questions after the summing up and the court was silent which indicated the decision by the trial judge was based on first-hand evidence.





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