Aman Ravindra-Singh. [File Photo]
Lautoka-based Human Rights lawyer Aman Ravindra-Singh who has been convicted for contempt of court appeared in the Suva High Court today for a hearing on this application for a permanent stay.
A committal proceeding filed against him by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
Singh was found guilty after he failed to comply with the orders of the High Court.
In 2020, the court found that Singh posted an unsubstantiated article titled “Regime Dirty Politics” on his Facebook page. Singh made unsubstantiated allegations on social media about them and the May 2000 coup.
Today, Aman Ravindra-Singh argued that he was not prepared at the time of the hearing of the committal proceedings and that he had been deprived of his right to a fair hearing.
He also alleged that the evidence before the Court was not limited to the committal proceedings. His key contention was that the supplementary affidavit filed in the proceedings and which contained further contemptuous postings on Facebook were not contemptuous.
He argued that he was entitled to use the words violent and corrupt as he was exercising his freedom of expression.
The lawyer was then questioned by the court in respect of what he understood in the verdict delivered in the defamation proceedings and in which these words were found libellous. He argued that he was not restrained from using these words by any Order of the Court.
Lawyers for the applicants argued this application for permanent stay was a desperate attempt by a litigant who is also an officer of the Court to derail the sentencing and mitigation hearing.
The court heard that the application was a nullity as the decision had been delivered in the contempt proceedings and that Ravindra-Singh stood convicted of contempt of court.
In respect of the further contemptuous posts, the lawyers for the Applicants argued that no person, including Ravindra-Singh, had the license to call anybody corrupt or violent, and that no individual can make defamatory allegations under the guise of exercising their freedom of expression.
The Court heard that Ravindra-Singh was aware that the defamatory words had been adjudicated upon by the Court and his continuous use of the words was indeed contemptuous. This was also recorded in the Court’s decision in which Ravindra-Singh was convicted for contempt.
The Court has directed the parties to file written submissions by Friday and the ruling in the matter will be delivered next Tuesday.