Naidu found guilty

November 22, 2022 4:30 pm

Richard Naidu

Prominent lawyer, Richard Naidu has been found guilty of contempt and scandalizing the court.

The judgement was delivered today in a packed room in the Suva High Court.

The committal proceedings stem from a post on Naidu’s Facebook page, in which he made comments about the judiciary following a case in February.

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The grounds of committal were that the Facebook post sought to ridicule the presiding judicial officer, for misspelling the word “injunction” as “injection”.

It also states that the said post also brings into disrepute and lowers the reputation of the presiding Judicial Officer and the administration of justice in Fiji.

It further states that the post invites and encourages viewers of the post to cast aspersions against expatriate judicial officers.

In his ruling, the judge stated that Naidu had admitted parts of the affidavit sworn by Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum on June 10th, 2022.

The judge concluded that the deposition in paragraph 12 of the AG’s affidavit is a statement of opinion and therefore it gave no weight.

In this particular paragraph, the AG states that as a legal practitioner, if Naidu was concerned with the spelling error in the judgment, he should have raised the matter with the High Court Registry.

The Judge adds that except for that particular deposition, all other depositions in the AG’s affidavit are admitted into evidence.

The Judge also found the particulars contained in the statement of charges, as proving beyond reasonable doubt of contempt of court and convicted Naidu.

He adds Naidu is an experienced and very senior barrister and solicitor and has great experience and is very conversant with proceedings for contempt of court.

The judge says by training and experience, Naidu understands the pith and essence of the offence of contempt of court.

Naidu’s lawyer, Jon Apted requested for time to make his submission for mitigation, saying he has arranged for five witnesses to give their statements in-person.

Richard Naidu’s lawyer, Jon Apted

AG’s lawyer, Gul Fatima did not object to the request.

The matter has now been adjourned to January 5th next year for mitigation and sentencing.

Some prominent figures such as National Federation Party Leader Professor Biman Prasad, Lenora Qereqeretabua, NFP candidate Sashi Kiran, The People’s Alliance candidate Lynda Tabuya, Dan Lobendhan, activist Imrana Jalal, Shamima Ali, former politician Mick Beddoes were seen at the court house today.