No case to answer ruling on alleged sedition tomorrow
May 7, 2018 12:49 am
The Suva High Court will deliver its ruling tomorrow morning on the no case to answer application filed by the defense counsels in the Fiji Times sedition trial.
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.
While responding to the prosecution’s submission from Friday, Waqabaca’s lawyer Aman Ravindra Singh said that none of the readers of the Nai Lalakai newspaper had reacted to the article in question which is alleged to have contents which could have caused ill-will or hostility between Muslims and the non-Muslims.
Singh said that the only person who reacted to the article was the Ministry of i-Taukei Affairs Permanent Secretary, Naipote Katonitabua.
Waqabaca is charged with one count of sedition and it is alleged that between the 20th and 27th April 2016 he did a seditious act and submitted an article in the Nai Lalakai newspaper which could have caused an ill-will and hostility between the population of Fiji particularly the Muslims and the Non-Muslims.
Singh said that ill -will is an emotion, while hostility is an action and apart from the Permanent Secretary’s no one ill-will and hostility was disturbed.
Anare Ravula is charged with one count of aiding and abetting and it is alleged that he aided Arts to publish an article which was a seditious publication.
His lawyer Devenesh Sharma said that there is no evidence that Ravula had seen, published or aided and abetted Hank Arts to publish the article on 27th April 2016 as alleged by the prosecution.
He said that the prosecution failed to bring in any witness to inform the court of the operations of a newspaper and that there is also no evidence that
Ravula’s contractual duty required him to report to publisher of the Fiji Times, Hank Arts.
Fred Wesley is charged with one count of aiding and abetting and it is alleged that he aided Arts to publish an article which was a seditious publication.
Hank Arts is charged with one count of sedition and it is alleged that he published an article on 27th April which could have caused an ill-will and hostility between the population of Fiji particularly the Muslims and the Non-Muslims.
Wesley and Arts counsel, Marc Corlett said that there is no evidence against any of his client.
The prosecution however says there is evidence of sedition in the article published in the Nai Lalakai newspaper on April 27th, 2016.
Prosecution lawyer, Lee Burney said the article in question was clearly a seditious publication as the readers of this article were i taukei community.
Burney said Ravula, Wesley and Arts are responsible for the publication.
He said they had the knowledge of the seditious contents of the article.