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FIJI: Newspaper sedition trial – Fiji Times Four found not guilty


Not guilty ... a Fiji Times celebration huddle outside the High Court in Suva today. Fiji Times editor-in-chief Fred Wesley is on the right. Image: The Fiji Times

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Item: 10166

SUVA (The Fiji Times/Fijivillage/Asia Pacific Report/Pacific Media Watch): The High Court in Suva has found the Fiji Times Ltd, its three senior executives and a letter writer not guilty of sedition, reports Timoci Vula in The Fiji Times.

High Court judge Justice Thushara Rajasinghe has found the Fiji Times Ltd, general manager Hank Arts, Fiji Times editor-in-chief Fred Wesley, Nai Lalakai editor Anare Ravula and letter writer Josefa Waqabaca not guilty and acquitted them accordingly in a jam-packed court room at Government Buildings in Suva today.

Vijay Narayan and Semi Turaga of Fijivillage report Justice Rajasinghe had ruled that the prosecution had failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the Nai Lalakai article was seditious.

The judge said he found the intention of Waqabaca’s article was to have national reconciliation.

Justice Rajasinghe said he did not find any evidence that Hank Arts saw the article or knew about it before it was printed.

The judge also said he did not find any evidence that Fred Wesley read or was aware of the article before it was printed, Fijivillage reports.

Justice Rajasinghe said he did not find any reason to disagree with the three assessors, reported Fijivillage.

All three assessors had earlier returned a not guilty opinion on all charges against Fiji Times Limited, publisher Hank Arts, contributor Josaia Waqabaca, editor-in-chief Fred Wesley and Nai Lalakai editor Anare Ravula.

All four had pleaded not guilty.

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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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