Sharma labels state's ground of appeal as frivolous

February 29, 2024 4:33 pm

Suspended Commissioner of Police Sitiveni Qiliho (left), former Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama in court today

Lawyer Devanesh Sharma has labelled the state’s ground of appeal in former Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s and suspended Commissioner of Police Sitiveni Qiliho’s matter as frivolous.

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecution had appealed the matter following the acquittal of the two by the Suva Magistrates Court.

Bainimarama was charged with one count of attempting to pervert the course of justice, while Qiliho was charged with one count of abuse of office.

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Sharma asserts in court that former Acting Commissioner of Police Rusiate Tudravu twisted evidence to suit his agenda.

He claims that Tudravu only used a particular sentence from what was discussed following a National Security Council meeting to make evidence that Bainimarama suggested the investigation be stopped, and he did not expect the defense counsel to access the minutes of the NSC meeting.

He claims that Tudravu clearly has a motive.

Sharma says the investigation into the USP matter did not stop either, as after the discussion where Bainimarama suggested stopping a particular investigation, the USP was still being investigated by CID.

He refers to the evidence submitted that the investigation was still ongoing even after the former Prime Minister suggested to Qiliho to stop a particular investigation.

He adds that claims about a COVID-19 breach at USP being made up were a lie.

Sharma backed this by providing evidence about reporting on the breach by the media.

Meanwhile, the state submitted eight grounds of appeal earlier this morning.

The matter will be called again on the 14th of next month for judgment.