FICAC appeals court decision to acquit SODELPA leader

SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka in court today. He has been acquitted and will be free to contest the 2018 General Election. Picture: LITIA CAVA

THE Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) has filed an appeal against the decision of the court to acquit former Prime Minister and Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) leader Sitiveni Rabuka.

In delivering his judgment today, Magistrate Jioji Boseiwaqa ruled that prosecution had failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that SODELPA was a registered political party and that Mr Rabuka was an office holder in the party.

A statement released by FICAC this afternoon confirmed that they had now filed an appeal to the High Court.

FICAC stated they had outlined 15 grounds of fundamental legal and factual errors as grounds of appeal.

FICAC argues, among the 15 grounds of appeal, the following:

1. That the learned Magistrate was wrong in applying an entirely irrelevant law, namely section 27 (4) of the Political Parties Act to substantiate the defence of the accused;

2. That the learned Magistrate was, in his judgment, mistaken on very fundamental legal principles of oral evidence, hearsay evidence and admissibility of evidence;

3. That the learned Magistrate erred in law in finding that the accused was not an office holder of the registered political party SODELPA without referring to the relevant evidence such as SODELPA Constitution;

4. That the learned Magistrate was wrong in stating that it was an honest mistake where the direct and circumstantial evidence of prosecution points at the intention of the accused in omitting information to the Supervisor of Election.

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