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Amended charges for sedition accused

Aqela Susu
Tuesday, February 06, 2018

THE Nai Lalakai sedition case was yesterday adjourned to next week by the High Court to allow assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Lee Burney to amend the charges brought against the five accused in the case.

The prosecution was given until this afternoon to apply to amend the charges after Thushara Rajasinghe questioned the charges as currently written.

Fiji Times Ltd, three of its senior officials and letter writer Josaia Waqabaca, are facing sedition charges over the letter, published in the company's iTaukei language newspaper, Nai Lalakai.

Justice Rajasinghe told Mr Burney that the translation in the charges did not match the court's English translation of the allegedly seditious letter. Mr Burney told the court that the Office of the DPP would rely on the "entire article".

But Justice Rajasinghe said the charges as they were written were different from the court's translation.

Nai Lalakai editor Anare Ravula, The Fiji Times editor-in-chief Fred Wesley and its general manager and publisher Hank Arts, are also facing sedition charges arising from the letter.

In court yesterday, Mr Burney and defence lawyers Nicholas Barnes, Devanesh Sharma, Aman Ravindra-Singh and Wylie Clarke agreed with the judge. The lawyers agreed last year that the case would proceed on the court's English translation of the letter.

The prosecution has been given time until 4pm today to file a notice of motion to amend the information in the sedition charges.

Bail has been extended for all five accused and the matter has been adjourned to Tuesday, February 13.

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