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Third defence witness for Fiji Times Editor-in-Chief takes stand

May 9, 2018 5:43 am

The third defence witness for Fiji Times Editor-in-Chief, Fred Wesley has taken the stand in the Suva High Court.

Nai Lalakai layout artist Viliame Ravai, testified that only three people worked on the Nai Lalakai newspaper, Nai Lalakai Editor Anare Ravula, reporter, Unaisi Cokibalavu and himself.

This also comes after earlier in the day, Assistant DPP, Lee Burney asked Wesley if he was telling the entire truth during the cross examanaition.

When Ravai was asked who was responsible to put letters in the pongrass system Fiji Times uses, Ravai said their Supervisor – meaning their Editor Anare Ravula.

Ravai was asked if he reads the letters when he lays them ,out to which he answered all letters are approved by the Supervisor before he does the layout.

Ravula’s lawyer, Devanesh Sharma, then asked Ravai if he was the one who laid out the Nai Lalakai newspaper on the 27th of April 2016.

Ravai said yes.

Sharma then asked if a team from the newspaper all worked on the document, to which he replied yes.

This is after it was noticed that the headline of the article was changed from “Notisi Taki o Khaiyum” (Notice given to Khaiyum) to “Lewe ni Notisi Taki” (Contents of the Notice).

Assistant DPP Lee Burney then asked Ravai if he had typed the first letter on the Nai Lalakai newspaper. Ravai said yes and mentioned that he doesn’t know who typed the letter written by Josaia Waqabaca.

Later this afternoon, it was revealed that there eight versions of the newspaper page, which was produced, which had the letter printed on it.

However, at no stage, was Ravai responsible for editing the contents of the letter, which was given to them in a USB stick.

He says the USB stick was handed to him by Ravula, but he did not know who it belonged to.

Ravai says the headline, “Notisi Taki o Khaiyum” was present in versions five and six, but was deleted in version seven but he has no idea as to who deleted it.

Burney then told Ravai that he wouldn’t know who last saw the paper which was printed, because his knock-off time from work is 4.30pm, to which Ravai said he did see Ravula view the paper, as they were sitting close by.

Burney had also earlier in the morning, suggested to Wesley that he had made a mistake and was now trying to cover up.

Wesley said this was not the case with Burney again suggesting that Wesley knew the content of the letter, however Wesley denied this.

Wesley who had earlier said he did not read the i-Taukei language, but only speaks it saying the meetings conducted with Ravula was done verbally in English and i-Taukei.

Wesley told the court that all editors have legal help available to them when it involved sensitive matters, but was not sure if Ravula had sought help for the letter in question.

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.