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Court to deliver ruling

Shalveen Chand
Wednesday, February 26, 2014

JUSTICE Paul Madigan will deliver his ruling on notice regarding an application by former Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry's counsel to quash charges against him.

Mr Chaudhry is charged with three counts related to contravening the Exchange Control Act.

The first count against Mr Chaudhry is in relation to an alleged failure to surrender foreign currency

The second count is in relation to allegedly dealing in foreign currency without authorisation.

The third count relates to an alleged failure to collect money with an overseas bank as a debt due.

Defence counsel Guy Reynolds, in his submission, told the court the essence of the application was their objection to jurisdiction.

He said the charges were not specific enough and the charges must be quashed because of duplicity.

He said the charges could only be laid with the consent of the DPP which had not been obtained.

Mr Reynolds said the judicial notice could be taken by the Director of Public Prosecutions during the time the charges were laid.

Mr Reynolds said charges laid on Mr Chaudhry suggests that anybody who had foreign currency and enters Fiji must convert them immediately.

He added the charges also implied that no one from Fiji could have a bank account overseas and with foreign currency.

Mr Reynolds told the court that the charges did not specify what Mr Chaudhry was specifically charged with and therefore a miscarriage of justice could arise.

He also submitted that the charges were bad because more than one offence had been charged in each count.

DPP counsel Clive Grossman told the court similar applications were made before but had been thrown out.

He submitted that the application yesterday was a waste of time.

Justice Madigan questioned the defence as to why the application was made three weeks before the start of the trial.

Mr Reynolds said these issues must be dealt with as Mr Chaudhry had the right to a fair trial.

The ruling will be given on notice while Mr Chaudhry will face court today also for his pre-trial conference.





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