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Judge to rule on sedition clarification

Litia Cava
Friday, December 08, 2017

JUSTICE Thushara Rajasinghe will deliver his ruling on Monday on an application by Nai Lalakai editor Anare Ravula's lawyer, Devanesh Sharma, for a clarification on the law of sedition.

Ravula is charged with Josaia Waqabaca, a letter writer, The Fiji Times publisher/ general manager Hank Arts, its editor-in-chief Fred Wesley and Fiji Times Ltd with one count each of sedition.

They were alleged to have published a letter in the Nai Lalakai in April last year that was likely to be seditious.

In his submissions at the High Court in Suva, Mr Sharma said the test of the charge must be established first by the court before they proceeded to trial.

Defence lawyer Feizal Haniff yesterday made an application to withdraw as counsel for Fiji Times Ltd, Wesley and Mr Arts.

Suva lawyer Pravesh Sharma will now represent the three accused.

Mr Haniff informed the court that the concerns raised by the prosecutor had put him in an awkward position and exercising his professional judgment, it was prudent that he withdraw as counsel.

This was after Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Lee Burney informed the court that he was concerned that the employment contracts of the three accused persons seem to have been tampered with.

Mr Burney said a search warrant was issued by the magistrates court allowing the investigating officer to go to the company's office to collect the employment contracts for Wesley, Ravula and Mr Arts.

However, he claimed that Mr Haniff told the investigating officer to pick the documents from his office and as such this made Mr Haniff a material witness in the case.

The trial is scheduled to begin after Justice Rajasinghe delivers his ruling.

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