22 Feb 2005

Damages awarded against Fiji Labour Party officials

7:07 pm on 22 February 2005

The Lautoka High Court has ordered senior officials of the Fiji Labour Party, including opposition leader Mahendra Chaudhry, to pay damages for defamation.

The action was brought by office bearers of the Lautoka Sugar Festival Association and relate to statements published the newsletter of the Labour Party's Lautoka branch last year.

They are the association president Bijesh Chand, vice president Pushp Raj, his wife Anita Raj, and association secretary, Rajendra Prasad.

They sought damages of over 600-thousand US dollars for defamatory statements published in the Labour Party newsletter.

The claim was filed against Mr Chaudhry, Lautoka MP Dr Ganesh Chand and Lautoka branch secretary, Subash Verma.

The Lautoka High Court awarded damages after Labour officials did not file a defence.

The judge ordered that the defendants pay the plaintiffs special and general damages, with interest and costs as determined by the court.