6 May 2013

Fiji NGO analysing contempt of court judgment

6:20 pm on 6 May 2013

A Fiji NGO found guilty of contempt of court last week says it is analysing the judgment before deciding its next course of action.

The Citizen's Constitutional Forum and its chief excutive, Reverend Akuila Yabaki, were found guilty in the High Court at Suva on Friday over an article it published alleging a lack of rule of law in the country.

Sally Round has been reading the judgment.

"The Attorney General's office brought the case claiming the article entitled Rule of Law Lost offended and undermined Fiji's judiciary. The article in the CCF's newsletter summarised a report by a British organisation the Law Society Charity. Judge William Calanchini found the published words raised doubts that disputes would not be resolved by independent and impartial judges and that undermined the authority and integrity of Fiji's judiciary. He said CCF's respected reputation lent credence to the words which went deeper than mere criticism and could not constitute fair comment. The CCF had asked that the judge step down from the case alleging conflict of interest and animosity towards the group but Judge Calanchini refused its application on several grounds. A mitigation and pre-sentence hearing is set for mid June."