Writer and Fiji Times executives acquitted by High Court
May 22, 2018 5:02 am
Writer Josaia Waqabaca, Nai Lalakai editor Anare Ravula, Fiji Times Editor in- Chief Fred Wesley and Fiji Times Publisher Hank Arts have been acquitted of sedition and aiding and abetting charges.
Suva High Court Judge Justice Thushara Rajasinghe delivered his judgment in a jam packed court this afternoon.
Emotions were high outside the Suva High court as the Fiji Times executives and writer Josaia Waqabaca were acquitted of the charges hanging over their heads for almost two years.
Fiji Times Publisher, Hank Arts, says he is relieved that it’s finally over.
“Relief I guess, its been a long journey but we toughed it out and it needed toughing it out, When you are in the media as you know we got standards to uphold and am just pleased that the law has seen those law to be appropriate”
Writer Josaia Waqabaca was charged with one count of sedition and it was alleged that in April 2016 between the 20th and 27th he did a seditious act and submitted an article in the Nai Lalakai newspaper which could have caused feelings of ill-will and hostility between Fijians particularly the Muslims and the Non-Muslims.
High court Judge Justice Thushara Rajasinghe said the prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the article was seditious.
Justice Rajasinghe said that Waqabaca was suggesting a national reconciliation in the article.
Anare Ravula and Fred Wesley were charged with one count each of aiding and abetting and it was alleged that they aided Arts to publish an article which was a seditious publication.
The High court Judge said that the prosecution failed to prove that they aided and abetted Arts to publish the article.
Justice Rajasinghe also said that the prosecution failed to prove that Wesley was aware of the article before it was printed.
Hank Arts was charged with one count of sedition and it was alleged that he published the article on April 27th.
Justice Rajasinghe said that Arts never saw the article before it was printed
The High court Judge concurred with the opinion of the High court assessors and found them not guilty of the charges.