Acting CJ sets date on ruling

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Voreqe Bainimarama walks out from the High Court in Suva yesterday. Picture: ATU RASEA

Acting Chief Justice Salesi Temo will deliver his ruling on an appeal by the Director of Public Prosecutions against the Magistrate’s Court’s decision to acquit former prime minister Voreqe Bainimarama and suspended Police Commissioner Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho on March 14.

The lower court had acquitted Mr Bainimarama and Mr Qiliho of the charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice and abuse of office respectively.

In the appeal hearing at the High Court in Suva, DPP lawyer Nancy Tikoisuva said the magistrate had made her own assumptions and inferences without further questioning the witnesses.

She said the magistrate had breached the Brown and Dunn Rule which ensured a fair trial.

Defence lawyer Gul Fatima with her client Sitiveni Qiliho after their appearance in court yesterday. Picture: ATU RASEA

Ms Tikoisuva told the court the magistrate had formed an opinion in relation to former deputy police commissioner, Rusiate Tudravu’s evidence without giving the witness the opportunity to correct or make a comment.

In response, Mr Bainimarama and Qiliho’s lawyer, Devanesh Sharma submitted that the magistrate’s court had sufficient material to make its decision and there was nothing unreasonable or perverse about it.

Mr Sharma said both respondents had given evidence under oath and gave a reasonable explanation about their conduct.

DPP lawyer Semi Leweniqila did not respond to Mr Sharma’s closing submission but said the State would rely on written submissions and documents supplied to the court.

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