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Defense to apply for judge’s recusal in alleged trafficking case

February 19, 2021 4:56 pm

The defense lawyer in an alleged human trafficking case will make an application for the High Court Judge currently presiding over the case to recuse himself.

Following the amendment to the Criminal Procedure Act 2009 to abolish the assessor system, High Court Judges will now also become the assessors of the fact.

The lawyer representing Seta Sanjana Ram who faces 35 counts of trafficking raised the matter in the High Court today.

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He stated that prior to the change in the act, the assessors had access to information but not disclosures, however, in this matter, the presiding Judge has the access to both information and disclosures.

He said to ensure a fair trial he will make an application for the Judge to recuse himself.

Seta Sanjana Ram and her sister Geeta Anjana Chandar allegedly facilitated the travel of 17 Fijians who were exploited and became victims of human trafficking in New Zealand between April and September 2014.

It is alleged the two sisters obtained more than $52,000 from the 17 complainants by deception.

The state today served amended information and disclosures to the defense counsels.

The lawyer for another defendant, Geeta Chandar, asked the court for time to go through the amended documents.

He also informed the court that his client is in Australia and not planning to come for the trial which begins in June.

The matter has been adjourned to 10th of March for plea.

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