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Fiji Times and others found not guilty of sedition

Fiji Times and others found not guilty of sedition

By Vijay Narayan, Semi Turaga and Iva Danford
Tuesday 22/05/2018
Fiji Times Limited Publisher Hank Arts, Editor in Chief Fred Wesley, Nai Lalakai Editor Anare Ravula and contributor Josaia Waqabaca

Not guilty.

That is the verdict of High Court Judge, Justice Thushara Rajasinghe in the Fiji Times sedition trial in the last hour.

Justice Rajasinghe has ruled that the prosecution has failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the Nai Lalakai article was seditious.

He said that he finds the intention of Waqabaca’s article was to have national reconciliation.


Contributor Josaia Waqabaca with lawyer Aman Ravindra Singh

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


Fiji Times Limited Publisher Hank Arts and Director at Motibhai Group of Companies Rajesh Patel

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


Fiji Times Editor-in-Chief Fred Wesley

Justice Rajasinghe said that he does not find any reason to disagree with the three assessors.

All the three assessors had earlier returned with 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.

Fiji Times Limited, Hank Arts and Josaia Waqabaca had pleaded not guilty to sedition while Fred Wesley and Anare Ravula had pleaded not guilty to aiding and abetting sedition.

 

Now Justice Rajasinghe has acquitted Fiji Times, Arts, Wesley, Ravula and Waqabaca.

It was alleged that Fiji Times printed the Nai Lalakai newspaper which contained an article which had content with a seditious intention to promote feelings of ill will and hostility between classes of the population.

Reactions :

Fiji Times Publisher, Hank Arts says he is relieved that they have been acquitted.

Fiji Times Editor-in-Chief, Fred Wesley said that he is thankful for all the support and they will continue to work according to the Code of Ethics in the Media Act.

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