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Fiji regime presses contempt case against social justice advocacy group

Rev Akuila Yabaki [1]

CCF director Reverend Akuila Yabaki … pleaded not guilty to the contempt charge. Image: PMC

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Vijay Narayan and Tokasa Rainima in Suva

The Fiji Attorney -General’s Office is asking for the High Court to find the social justice advocacy group Citizens Constitutional Forum (CCF) and its director, Reverend Akuila Yabaki, guilty of contempt of court.

The CCF and Rev Yabaki have pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The contempt proceedings arose from an article entitled “Fiji – The Rule of Law Lost” which was published in the April 2012 edition of Tutaka, CCF’s quarterly newsletter.

While making the submission before Justice William Calanchini, Acting Solicitor-General Sharvada Sharma said the article published in the CCF newsletter was unfounded and unsubstantiated, and undermined the dignity and independence of the judiciary.

However, CCF’s senior counsel, Neil Williams, said the article contained no reference to any individual.

He said the article dealt with questions of structures and the law.

Williams said it was nothing about “scandalising the judiciary”.

Truth ‘justification’
He also asked the court to consider the justification of truth.

Justice Calanchini reserved his sentence.

This case follows a contempt of court case against The Fiji Times [2] for publishing criticisms of the Pacific country’s post-coup judiciary.

Source: Fiji Village.com / Pacific Media Watch 8162 [3]

Cafe Pacific commentary on the contempt cases [2]