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News

Court grants Qarase leave to appeal conviction

November 12, 2012 4:18 am

The Fiji Appeals Court has granted former Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase leave to appeal against his conviction and sentence.

Qarase is serving a one-year prison term for offences related to abuse of office and discharge of duty with respect to property whilst he was the Director of Fijian Holdings Limited.

The notice of appeal filed by Qarase’s lawyer, Tupou Draunidalo seeks leave on 20 grounds of appeal.

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One ground is the question of law and the other 19 as question of facts and law in Qarase’s application for leave.

On grounds one the Judge says the trial judge has erred in his summing up to the assessors by failing to direct them that it was necessary that the prosecution prove that the appellant held all three positions of Director of Fijian Holdings Limited, Adviser to the Fijian Affairs Board and Great Council of Chiefs.

Justice Suresh Chandra in his ruling said that it is his view that the current circumstances amounts to a question of mixed law and the fact as it relates to the status of the Appellant in relation to the said institutions.

As for other 19 grounds, it involves question of law and fact, Justice Chandra says he is of the view that the matters raised are arguable grounds of appeal against conviction, having considered the summing up of the trial judge and the reason in his judgement.

Justice Chandra says the grounds bring forth questions of mixed fact and law and therefore are grounds on which leave can be granted.

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