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Defence objects to amended information

Aqela Susu
Wednesday, February 14, 2018

HIGH Court judge Justice Thushara Rajasinghe will hear submissions on the defence's objections to amended information filed by the prosecution in relation to a sedition case against three senior officials of The Fiji Times Ltd, the company and a letter writer on March 1.

The prosecution last week filed a further amended information after reviewing the court's translation of the said newspaper article.

Nai Lalakai editor Anare Ravula, The Fiji Times editor-in-chief Fred Wesley, the company's general manager and publisher, Hank Arts, the company and a letter writer, Josaia Waqabaca, are charged with one count each of having published or caused to publish or aided and abetted the publication of a letter in the Nai Lalakai newspaper on April 27, 2016 that was alleged to be seditious.

The five appeared before Justice Thushara Rajasinghe at the High Court in Suva yesterday morning.

Ravula is represented by Devanesh Sharma, Wesley and Arts are represented by Nick Barnes of Munro Leys while the company is being represented by Wylie Clarke of Howards Lawyers Fiji.

Mr Waqabaca is represented by Aman Ravindra-Singh while the State is represented by Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, Lee Burney.

In court yesterday, Mr Sharma, Mr Barnes, Mr Clarke and Mr Waqabaca indicated that they would be objecting to the amended charges.

Mr Sharma said that his objection would be based upon the fact that the amended information was incomplete and did not contain the necessary elements of a seditious publication.

Mr Barnes and Mr Clarke both indicated the amended information was being served on them on Monday and they asked for time to file submissions on their objections. All counsel are required to file their submissions by February 22.

Bail has been extended to all accused persons.

They will reappear in court on March 1.

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