Fiji’s DPP will appeal Fiji Times acquittal
SUVA, 24 MAY 2018 (FBC NEWS) — Fiji’s Director of Public Prosecutions(DPP), Christopher Pryde, says following a review of the Summing Up and Judgment in the recently decided Fiji Times case, they have decided to file an appeal against the decision of the court to acquit five people.
Pryde says in their view the court has made a number of fundamental errors in its interpretation of the law.
He says they now have conflicting High Court decisions which require clarification from the Court of Appeal.
The DPP says this was a case that concerned not only the boundaries of freedom of expression by a media organisation but also the rights of vulnerable minority groups in Fiji to lead lives in harmony with their neighbours and free from unlawful discrimination.
Pryde says the court agreed the State had shown there was a criminal case to answer but in their view the court failed to give adequate weight to the constitutional limitations as they relate to what is commonly referred to as “hate speech”.
He says freedom of expression should never be used to protect advocacy for hate speech.
Pryde says it is important the courts are engaged in establishing the correct balance between freedoms of expression on the one hand and the protections afforded by the Constitution that give people the right to live in harmony with each other and be free from unlawful discrimination.
Writer Josaia Waqabaca, Nai Lalakai editor Anare Ravula, Fiji Times Editor in- Chief Fred Wesley and Fiji Times Publisher Hank Arts were acquitted of sedition and aiding and abetting charges on Tuesday…. PACNEWS