Nai Lalakai trial: Ruling deferred

Lawyers Nick Barnes (left) and Wylie Clarke lead The Fiji Times publisher Hank Arts, The Fiji Times editor-in-chief Fred Wesley and Motibhai Group resident director Rajesh Patel outside the High Court in Suva yesterday. Picture: RAMA

Lawyers Nick Barnes (left) and Wylie Clarke lead The Fiji Times publisher Hank Arts, The Fiji Times editor-in-chief Fred Wesley and Motibhai Group resident director Rajesh Patel outside the High Court in Suva yesterday. Picture: RAMA

HIGH Court judge Justice Thushara Rajasinghe will now deliver his ruling on objections by the defence to the amended charges that the DPP is seeking leave to file in an alleged sedition case against three senior officials of The Fiji Times Ltd, the company and a Nai Lalakai letter writer next month.

Nai Lalakai editor Anare Ravula, The Fiji Times editor-in-chief Fred Wesley, the company’s general manager and publisher Hank Arts, the company and Nai Lalakai letter writer Josaia Waqabaca are charged with one count each of having published or caused to publish or aided and abetted the publication of a letter in the Nai Lalakai newspaper on April 27, 2016 that was alleged to be seditious.

The five appeared before Justice Thushara Rajasinghe at the High Court in Suva yesterday.

Ravula is represented by Devanesh Sharma, Wesley and Mr Arts are represented by Nick Barnes of Munro Leys while the company is being represented by Wylie Clarke of Howards Lawyers.

Mr Waqabaca is represented by Lautoka lawyer Aman Ravindra Singh while the State is represented by Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, Lee Burney.

The defence earlier indicated their objection to the amended charges on the grounds that the amended information was not in the correct form and did not provide sufficient particulars.

Justice Rajasinghe was scheduled to deliver the ruling on the matter yesterday, but said he needed more time before he could make a ruling.

Justice Rajasinghe also reminded the parties that there was another notice of motion filed by the prosecution pending before the court and that he will provide directions on that application when he delivers his ruling. The matter has been adjourned to April 9 for ruling.

Bail has been extended for all accused persons. The trial of the charges is currently fixed to begin on April 30.

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