19th October 05:38 AM
Bulitavu and Karunaratne to be sentenced on 30th of this month
By Jessica Savike
Friday 20/04/2018
Former SODELPA parliamentarian Mosese Bulitavu and Fiji United Freedom Party President Jagath Karunaratne.

Former SODELPA parliamentarian, Mosese Bulitavu and former Fiji United Freedom Party President, Jagath Karunaratne who have been convicted of one count each of sedition will be sentenced on 30th of this month.

Bulitavu and Karunaratne together with others between the 1st and 27th of August 2011 did an act namely the spray painting of words in different places between Nausori and Suva with the seditious intention of bringing into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the government of Fiji.

Defence lawyer Filimoni Vosarogo while submitting his sentencing submission for Karunaratne presented two character witnesses in court who had worked with him at Telecom Fiji.

Vosarogo informed the court that Karunaratne is graduating with an LLB degree on the 2nd of next month.

He further stated that Karunaratne is remorseful and is pleading for the court’s mercy and leniency.

Bulitavu's defence lawyer, Barbara Malimali highlighted to the court that 6276 people have lost their representatives in parliament the day Bulitavu got convicted.

She further asked the court to disregard the aggravating factors submitted by the state on the grounds that there was no evidence laid in court about it.

She said that the submissions are scandalous and must be struck out.

Malimali said that it had come out in the evidence that Bulitavu did not pay the three spray painters.

She adds that the spray painters were on their own and chose the locations themselves, therefore, there was no sophisticated planning.

Malimali said that Bulitavu has been ridiculed since this case started to the extent where comments were passed by the Prime Minister in Parliament.

She said the Prime Minister during a parliament session had said to Bulitavu 'you want good roads then stop doing graffiti on our bus stops'. She adds that the comments were withdrawn later.

Malimali has asked the court to consider 2 years as a starting point.

State lawyer Lisiate Fotofili stated that the remorse of Karunaratne was not genuine.

He further stated no matter how popular Bulitavu is, he would not be treated more favourably.

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