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Judge outlines what the prosecution has to prove in sedition trial of Fiji Times and others

Judge outlines what the prosecution has to prove in sedition trial of Fiji Times and others

By Dhanjay Deo
Tuesday 12/12/2017
From left: Nai Lalakai Editor Anare Ravula, Editor Fred Wesley and Publisher Hank Arts

High Court Judge, Justice Thushara Rajasinghe has delivered his ruling in relation to the case of Fiji Times Limited and others, outlining relevant ingredients that the prosecution needs to establish regarding the charge of sedition.

Fiji Times Limited, Editor Fred Wesley, Publisher Hank Arts, Nai Lalakai Editor Anare Ravula and contributor Josaia Waqabaca through their lawyers had made an application seeking an order to clarify the legal test to be applied for seditious intention under the Crimes Act.

It is alleged that Fiji Times, on the 27th of April last year 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.

The court was also asked to properly determine the main elements of the offence of sedition as it would assist parties during the hearing.

In his ruling, Justice Rajasinghe has stated that in this case, the prosecution has to first establish that Waqabaca submitted an article written by him for publication, in a nature to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between certain classes of the population in Fiji.

Justice Rajasinghe says thereafter, the prosecution has to establish that the article with such a nature has a seditious tendency such as to create public disorder or disturbance of law and order, or to subvert the authority of the government.

He says if the prosecution established these ingredients, then it can be presumed that Waqabaca had the necessary seditious intention when he had written and submitted the alleged article for publication.

Justice Rajasinghe then stated that the prosecution has to establish that Hank Arts and Fiji Times Limited had published and printed an article of a nature to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between certain classes of the population in Fiji. 

The trial of Fiji Times Limited and others will be held from the 4th to the 8th of June next year.

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