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Acting Chief Justice nullifies Justice Temo’s orders

May 19, 2020 6:23 am
Acting Chief Justice Kamal Kumar. [File Photo]

A recent ruling by High Court Judge Justice Salesi Temo has been nullified by Acting Chief Justice Kamal Kumar.

Justice Temo had ruled that various sentences and fines in 49 cases of breach of curfew and social distancing directives were against the Constitutional rights of the accused persons.

The matters were initially dealt by magistrates in Suva, Nausori, Vunidawa and Savusavu courts.

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He had further directed the magistrates to re-sentence the accused persons after considering what is recorded in his judgement.

However, Acting Chief Justice Kamal Kumar  yesterday confirmed that he had declared Justice Temo’s orders a nullity and not to be followed by magistrates.

Justice Kumar says Justice Temo could only exercise his discretion to review the Magistrate’s Courts decisions upon the receipt of a report under the hand of the Chief Justice as stipulated under section 260 of the Criminal Procedure Act of 2009.

He adds that as the acting Chief Justice, he did not provide any report to the High Court judge and that Justice Temo did so without consulting the Chief Justice’s Office in any respect.

Justice Kumar also says that his office only became aware of the review when it was published in the media, after the orders were reviewed.

Justice Temo, according to the Acting Chief Justice lacked the jurisdiction to conduct the review.

Justice Kumar confirms that he has reviewed all the files subject to Justice Temo’s judgement and identified files in which sentences passed by the various Magistrates need to be reviewed.

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