4 Oct 2010

Former Fijian prime minister should be granted bail: lawyer

11:57 am on 4 October 2010

The lawyer representing the former Fijian prime minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, says he expects his client to be granted bail when he appears in court today.

Mr Chaudhry has been held in police custody since Friday, when he was arrested and charged with breaching the country's public emergency regulations.

The regulations state that no meeting can be held without the approval of authorities.

Peter Williams QC says Mr Chaudhry was assessing the impact of the drought on sugar farmers when he was arrested.

Mr Williams, who is also representing Mr Chaudhry on charges of money laundering and tax evasion, says the cases are not related and are baseless.

"The one thing that they all have in common, none of them have, in my submission, have any foundation whatsoever."

Meanwhile FBC News understands authorities are looking into a Fiji TV news report on the charges against Chaudhry that may have breached the crimes decree.

Ministry of information Permanent Secretary Sharon Smith Johns says she is looking into the matter and may comment later.