Defense allowed to call in Paul Geraghty as witness
Praneeta Prakash/Ana Ravulo
May 10, 2018 2:36 am
The Defense has been allowed to call in Paul Geraghty to take the stand and give evidence in the Fiji Times sedition trial underway at the Suva High Court.
Geraghty is considered to be an expert on the I-Taukei language.
The Defence Counsels gave their submissions and stated this is important for Geraghty to be allowed to give evidence.
Josaia Waqabaca’s lawyer, Defence Counsel, Aman Ravindra Singh said that question marks are hanging over the article and Geraghty will be able to shed some light on the article.
He said that for the fairness of the trial it is important for the witness to be allowed to give evidence.
Hank Arts and Fred Wesley’s lawyer Nick Barnes and Devanesh Sharma also agree with Singh.
Barnes said that Geraghty is in the same position as the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs Permanent Secretary, Naipote Katonitabua.
He said that they both are the readers of the article.
However, Prosecution lawyer, Assistant DPP Lee Burney disagreed with this.
Earlier today, Burney said that Geraghty has nothing to do with the case and that the court does not need his expert opinion, as only the opinions of the assessors and the Judge matters.
Fiji Times Lawyer Wylie Clarke then said that Geraghty should be able to translate the letter as the Permanent Secretary for i-Taukei Affairs, Naipote Katonitabua also gave his opinion on the letter.
High Court Judge, Justice Thushara Rajasinghe said that it was rightful for Katonitabua to give his opinion as he was the one that lodged the complaint on the letter and has relevance to the case.
Writer Josaia Waqabaca, Nai Lalakai Editor, Anare Ravula, Editor- in-Chief Fred Wesley and Publisher Hank Arts are on trial charged with sedition and aiding and abetting.
Fiji Times Limited publisher Hank Arts and writer Josaia Waqabaca have pleaded not guilty to sedition, while Fred Wesley and Anare Ravula have pleaded not guilty to aiding and abetting sedition.
It is alleged that the Fiji Times printed the Nai Lalakai newspaper which contained an article which had content with seditious intention to promote feelings of ill will and hostility amongst the population of Fiji, particularly Muslims and Non-Muslims.