Defence asks court to dismiss appeal application
May 14, 2018 4:58 am
The defence counsel for former Education Minister Dr Mahendra Reddy this afternoon asked the Suva High court to dismiss the appeal application filed by FICAC.
FICAC had appealed the matter after Dr Reddy was acquitted of one count of bribery and one count of undue influence by the Suva Magistrates Court in December last year.
It is alleged that on 8th May last year, Dr. Reddy conferred or offered to confer a benefit namely a steady water source for the Ra High School in order to influence the vote of Waisea Lebobo
Dr Reddy is also alleged to have interfered with the political right of Lebobo.
During his submission this afternoon Devenesh Sharma said that no errors were made by the Chief Magistrate.
Sharma said that while giving evidence Lebobo had said that he doesn’t even recall what the Minister had said to him.
He also said that Lebobo was aware of his political rights.
Sharma also said that prior to the elections he was campaigning for SODELPA however after the elections he accepted the results and supported the Government.
He also said that while giving evidence Lebobo said that he was never suffered from any undue influence.
Sharma also said that at time Dr Reddy does not even know whether he will be a candidate for next elections.
Sharma has asked the court not to order a re-trial and to consider the consequences of it on the accused.
He said that Dr Reddy has gone through personal trauma, financial loss and reputation loss.
Meanwhile earlier today, the Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption stated the political rights of the manager of Ra High School Waisea Lebobo was compromised due to the actions of former Education Minister Dr Mahendra Reddy.
FICAC lawyer Rashmi Aslam said the prosecution has proved the elements of the offence and the Magistrate had erred in his judgment.
Aslam said that during a talanoa session in Ra Lebobo highlighted the issue of inconsistent water supply with Dr Reddy.
It is alleged Dr Reddy said the water supply issue will be looked at after the 2018 General Election.
It is alleged he also told Lebobo not to go to media and say that the Government is not doing anything.
It is also alleged that Dr Reddy had told him that if Lebobo is with them than he need not worry.
Aslam said at the time Lebobo was the campaign manager for SODELPA.
FICAC lawyer said there is evidence to show that the political rights of Lebobo was hindered as in his evidence he had told the Magistrates court that the promise made by the Minister had caused him to change his political allegiance.
Aslam said the Constitution guarantees political rights and the Magistrate had not applied this to the law while making a decision.