Ratu Isoa ordered to pay AG $80,000
February 25, 2021 12:40 pm
Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Former SODELPA MP Ratu Isoa Tikoca.
Former SODELPA MP Ratu Isoa Tikoca has been ordered to pay Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum $80,000 in defamation costs.
The ruling was handed down by the Suva High Court this morning.
Sayed-Khaiyum had sued Ratu Isoa for comments to a Sydney community radio station which was later posted on the Fiji Exposed Forum Facebook page.
The court heard that in about January or February 2018, in the interview Ratu Isoa spoke in the iTaukei language and made statements against Sayed-Khaiyum.
The former SODELPA MP had claimed that the AG was engaging in devious schemes, criminal and illegal acts and that he was engaged in discrimination and racism.
The High Court ruled that the allegations were serious in nature and Ratu Isoa does not have any license or freedom to make such claims unless they are true in nature and justifiable on very strong grounds.
It also stated the defamatory material was addressed to listeners on a popular radio station and would have come to the notice of a very large number of people.
The Court ruled the broadcast was designed to cause widespread damage to the Attorney General.
Ratu Isoa’s words were then transcribed in the English language and the said transcript was circulated on a prominent social media platform which the court says caused a great deal of embarrassment to Sayed-Khaiyum.
The High Court ruling states Ratu Isoa’s statement caused substantial damage to Sayed-Khaiyum’s reputation in his capacity as the Member of Parliament, Minister for Economy and the Attorney General.
Apart from the $80,000, the former politician has been ordered to write a public retraction and apology in the newspapers in both itaukei and English languages within 14 days, and pay $5,000 as court costs.