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Closing submission on Fiji Times sedition trial to be heard today

May 14, 2018 8:03 pm

The closing submissions on the Fiji Times sedition trial will be heard at the Suva High Court today.

Writer Josaia Waqabaca, Nai Lalakai Editor, Anare Ravula, Editor- in-Chief Fred Wesley and Publisher Hank Arts are charged with sedition and aiding and abetting.

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

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It is alleged the Fiji Times printed the Nai Lalakai newspaper which contained an article which had content with seditious intention to promote feelings of ill will and hostility amongst the population of Fiji, particularly Muslims and Non-Muslims.

The defence called in two witnesses last week.

Linguistic Professor at the University of the South Pacific Paul Geraghty and lawyer Richard Naidu took the stand.

Geraghty had told the court that he didn’t feel that the article in question created any ill-feeling or hostility among the population of Fiji.

Geraghty is considered to be an expert on the I-Taukei language.

During cross-examination by Defence counsel Wylie Clarke, Geraghty said that he doesn’t believe the article in question would have encouraged feelings of ill will among the ethnic groups in the country.

Meanwhile, second defence witness for the Fiji Times, Lawyer Richard Naidu told the court last week the law firm Munro Leys he works for provides pre-publication work for the newspaper, meaning that either him, Jon Apted or Nick Barnes view the content of the Fiji Times newspaper to see if it’s not defaming anyone, breaching any laws before it is published.

He also mentioned that he doesn’t do much in the Nai Lalakai newspaper as it is a weekly newspaper.

The closing submission will be heard this morning.

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