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Judge set to rule

Litia Cava
Friday, March 02, 2018

JUSTICE Thushara Rajasinghe will deliver his ruling on March 21 in the High Court on the defence's objections to the proposed amended information on sedition charges against three senior officials of The Fiji Times Ltd, the company and a letter writer.

The prosecution filed further amended information after reviewing the court's translation of the article that appeared in the Nai Lalakai newspaper on April 27, 2016. The courts translation contained different words from the words appearing in the original charge.

The Fiji Times general manager and publisher, Hank Arts, the Fiji Times Ltd, and Josaia Waqabaca the letter writer are charged with sedition while Nai Lalakai editor Anare Ravula, and The Fiji Times editor-in-chief Fred Wesley are charged with aiding and abetting the publication of the said letter that was alleged to have been seditious.

Ravula is represented by Devanesh Sharma, Wesley and Arts were yesterday represented by Queens Counsel Marc Corlett, who appeared alongside Nick Barnes of Munro Leys while the company was represented by Wylie Clarke of Howards Lawyers Fiji.

During the objection hearing in court yesterday, Mr Corlett said the prosecution in their submission stated that they would be relying on the article as a whole as it needed to be viewed in context.

However he said the context was not clear.

Mr Corlett said the pressure right now would be on prosecution to provide the particulars that showed which part of the article were seditious.

He said the context that prosecution would be using in this case was still in question. He said context was important as it outline supports the meanings that flowed from the alleged words used. He said the defence stance was clear and that the amended information that was presented by prosecution triggered more questions than answers.

Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Lee Burney in his response said the State was clear from the start and that they would be relying on the whole article to prove their case and it was the article in its context which amounted to the offence.

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