27 Jan 2009

Contempt case likely to be linked to newspaper publisher's deportation from Fiji

2:33 pm on 27 January 2009

The Fiji Times editor in chief Netani Rika says it's likely the deportation of Rex Gardner is linked to a High Court case over the paper's publication of a contemptuous letter criticising the courts validation of the 2006 military coup.

Lawyers are appealing last week's High Court ruling that fined the paper 54,000 US dollars, and suspended jail sentences handed to Netani Rika and the deported Australian publisher, Rex Gardner.

Netani Rika says that Mr Gardner rang him and said nice knowing you, before departing the country.

He says while he can't say too much about the case under appeal, but says the immigration minister alluded to the case in a media interview.

"What I will say is there was comment on radio this morning by the Director of Immigration which seemed to make a link between the ruling on Thursday last week and this latest action by the interim government. So I think that is actually a question to ask the Minister for Defence"