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Linguistic expert takes stand in Fiji Times sedition trial

May 10, 2018 5:25 am

Linguist Professor Paul Geraghty while taking the stand at the Fiji Times sedition trial in the Suva high court this afternoon said he doesn’t feel the article in question created any ill-feeling or hostility among the population of Fiji.

High court Judge Justice Thushara Rajasinghe allowed the defence to call in Geraghty to take the stand and give evidence.

Geraghty is considered to be an expert on the I-Taukei language.

During the cross examination by defence counsel Wylie Clarke, Geraghty said he doesn’t believe the article in question would have encouraged feelings of ill will amongst the ethnic groups in the country.

Meanwhile, second defence witness for the Fiji Times, Lawyer Richard Naidu told the court today that the law firm Munro Leys he works for provides pre-publication work for the newspaper, meaning that either him, Jon Apted or Nick Barnes view the content of the Fiji Times newspaper to see if it’s not defaming anyone, breaching any laws before it is published.

Naidu said that he only receives emails from senior reporters and editors when they have queries on stories.

He adds that he does not receive any emails from Publisher Hank Arts and usually receives emails from Editor in Chief, Fred Wesley once a week.

However he said that Arts does have the liberty to contact him.

Naidu adds that he sometimes provide training to editorial staff in the Fiji Times group.

He mentions that he doesn’t do much in the Nai Lalakai newspaper as it is a weekly newspaper.

Naidu adds that Munro Leys never received any complaints from the Media Industry Development Authority about the letter in the Nai Lalakai newspaper.

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.

The closing submission will be heard on Tuesday.

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