The Fiji Times fined for contempt of court

February 20, 2013 4:50 am

The Fiji Times has been fined $300,000 for Contempt of Court.

The Newspaper, it’s Editor in chief Fred Wesley and the then Publisher Brian O’Flaherty were found guilty of contempt of court after publishing an article that questioned the integrity of Fiji’s judiciary.

Fred Wesley has been handed a six month sentence suspended for two years while O’Flaherty has been fined $10,000.

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Both men also have to pay $2000 in court costs.

They were convicted of contempt scandalizing the court.

Fiji Times published an article on 7th November 2011from the Sunday Star Times of New Zealand titled ‘FIFA proves Doc’ in its sporting page.

There was a subsequent edition in June 2012.

The article relates to the disbarment of Doctor Samshu Dean Sahu Khan as the legal practitioner.

Khan was the President of the Fiji Football Association for a number of years.

In his ruling Judge Justice William Callinchini says the edition that appeared in the Fiji Times on 30th June 2012 aggravated the risk of undermining public confidence in the administration of justice in Fiji.

Justice Callinchini says the material consisting of the headline and the article itself and the photograph when read together conveyed to a fair minded and reasonable reader the impression that the judiciary in Fiji was not independent from the government.

They have 28 days to pay their fines.