SUPPORTERS and relatives cheered as former prime minister Laisenia Qarase shook their hands and waved before going home following his conviction yesterday.
High Court judge Justice Priyantha Fernando also allowed bail pending sentencing.
Justice Fernando upheld the assessors' unanimous guilty opinion with respect to six counts of abuse of office and three counts of discharging his duty with respect to property in which he had a private interest. Fifteen minutes before the judgment, Qarase,71, arrived with his wife Leba to 200 people who crowded the court lawn, stairwell and corridor.
As Justice Fernando read out his two-page judgment, Qarase sat with his head lowered.
Justice Fernando said he was satisfied that prosecution had proved all elements of the offences beyond reasonable doubt.
By 10am, police presence at the courthouse had increased notably.
Following the conviction, defence lawyer Tupou Draunidalo sought an adjournment to today for mitigation.
She also submitted an application for bail pending sentencing, saying every accused person had the right to bail.
Ms Draunidalo said Qarase had always complied with his bail conditions, his travel documents were with the court and that he was able to report to Samabula Police Station at 5pm everyday.
Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption senior counsel Michael Blanchflower did not object to bail.
Ms Draunwidalo said the presumption for bail could be displaced if prosecution objected. However, Justice Fernando pointed out that presumption was displaced when the accused was convicted.
In allowing bail, Justice Fernando told Qarase to report to the Samabula Police Station between 3pm to 5pm daily.
After the judgment, Mr and Mrs Qarase shook hands with supporters
Today, the court will hear mitigation anwd sentencing submissions from the defence and prosecution respectively.