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FIJI: Defence lawyers object to amended information in Fiji Times 'sedition' case

The Fiji Times publisher Hank Arts (from left), editor-in-chief Fred Wesley, Nai Lalakai editor Anare Ravula with lawyers Nick Barnes and Wylie Clarke (second from right) outside the High Court in Suva on Tuesday. Image: Jonacani Lalakobau/Fiji Times

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Item: 10083

By Aqela Susu
SUVA (The Fiji Times/Pacific Media Watch): High Court judge Justice Thushara Rajasinghe will next month hear submissions on the defence's objections to amended information filed by the prosecution in relation to a sedition case against three senior staff of The Fiji Times Ltd, the company and a letter writer.

The prosecution last week filed further amended information after reviewing the court's translation of the newspaper article at the heart of the case..

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 a 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 Nai Lalakai newspaper on 27 April 2016 that was alleged to be seditious.

The five appeared before Justice Thushara Rajasinghe at the High Court in Suva on February 13.

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

Waqabaca is represented by Aman Ravindra-Singh while the state is represented by Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Lee Burney.

In court, Sharma, Barnes, Clarke and Waqabaca indicated that they would be objecting to the amended charges.

Sharma said his objection would be based upon the fact that the amended information was incomplete and did not contain the necessary elements of a seditious publication.

Barnes and Clarke both indicated the amended information was being served on them on Monday and they asked for time to file submissions on their objections. All counsel are required to file their submissions by February 22.

Bail has been extended to all the accused people.

They will reappear in court on March 1.

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Pacific Media Watch

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Pacific Media Watch is compiled for the Pacific Media Centre as a regional media freedom and educational resource by a network of journalists, students, stringers and commentators.
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