DPP appeals Fiji Times judgement

The ODPP press release. Picture: ODPP

THE Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions will appeal the decision of High Court judge Justice Thushara Rajasinghe’s judgment to acquit the accused persons in the Fiji Times sedition trial last Tuesday at the High Court in Suva.

This was confirmed in a statement issued this afternoon by the ODPP following a review of the summing up and judgment of the case by the Director of Public Prosecutions Christopher Pryde.

“In our view the court has made a number of fundamental errors in its interpretation of the law and we now have conflicting High Court decisions in Fiji which require clarification from the Court of Appeal,” Mr Pryde said.

He said this was a case that concerned not only the boundaries of freedom of expression by a media organisation but also the rights of vulnerable minority groups in Fiji to lead lives in harmony with their neighbours and free from unlawful discrimination.

“The court agreed that the State had shown there was a criminal case to answer but in our view the court failed to give adequate weight to the constitutional limitations as they relate to what is commonly referred to as hate speech,” he said.

Mr Pryde said freedom of expression should never be used to protect advocacy for hate speech.

(L-R- front) Nai Lalakai editor Anare Ravula, Fiji Times Director Rajesh Patel, Editor-in-Chief Fred Wesley, Publisher Hank Arts and letter writer Josaia Waqabaca joined by The Fiji Times staff and supporters outside the Suva High Court yesterday. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA


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