Pacific Media Centre Pacific Media Watch Pacific Journalism Review Asia Pacific Report
 

FIJI: Justice Rajasinghe to deliver Fiji Times sedition trial verdict on Tuesday


Holding on ... The Fiji Times publisher Hank Arts and his wife leave the High Court in Suva yesterday. Image: Jovesa Naisua/Fiji Times

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Item: 10162

By Litia Cava
SUVA (The Fiji Times/Asia Pacific Report/Fiji Village/Pacific Media Watch): High Court judge Justice Thushara Rajasinghe is set to deliver his verdict on Tuesday after the three assessors returned with a unanimous not guilty opinion against three senior management and editorial staff of The Fiji Times daily newspaper, a letter writer and the Fiji Times Ltd yesterday.

After three weeks of trial, Justice Rajasinghe will decide on whether the alleged seditious article that was published in Fijian language Nai Lalakai newspaper on April 27, 2016, was seditious and if it had an intention to cause feelings of ill will and hostility between different classes of the Fijian population:* The Fiji Times editor-in-chief Fred Wesley together with Nai Lalakai editor Anare Ravula are each charged with one count each of aiding and abetting the publication of a seditious  article,

  • * The Fiji Times editor-in-chief Fred Wesley together with Nai Lalakai editor Anare Ravula are each charged with one count each of aiding and abetting the publication of a seditious  article,
  • * Fiji Times Ltd publisher Hank Arts is charged with one count of publishing a seditious article in Nai Lalakai;
  • * Letter writer Josaia Waqabaca is charged with one count of submitting for publication an article written by him with a seditious intention, and
  • * Fiji Times Ltd is charged with one count of printing a seditious publication.
  • * All pleaded not guilty.

READ MORE: The Fiji 4 – the case that tests press freedoms

While summing up the case, Justice Rajasinghe reminded the assessors that their main task was to assess and evaluate the evidence that was provided by all witnesses and to determine its credibility, reliability and truthfulness.

Fiji Village reports that Justice Thushara Rajasinghe told the assessors to read the Nai Lalakai article from the minds of reasonable and fair minded iTaukei readers.

He told the assessors to take into consideration under what circumstances the article was published and to consider the reaction of the readers.

Justice Rajasinghe told the three that he did not find the opinion of Permanent Secretary for iTaukei Affairs, Naipote Katonitabua, and linguist Professor Paul Geraghty would be much help to the assessors. Dr Geraghty had said that he did not have much interaction with the iTaukei community for the last 10 to 15 years as he was mainly teaching, while Katonitabua had said that he used to talk to the iTaukei community at times.

The judge told the assessors to consider the truthfulness of the answers given in the caution interview.

Litia Cava is a Fiji Times journalist.

Creative Commons Licence

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3

PMC profile photograph

Pacific Media Watch

PMC's media monitoring service

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.
(cc) Creative Commons


Comments

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.