SODELPA MP and Defence lawyer Niko Nawaikula says that the “law of contempt is bad and wrong” after his fellow SODELPA candidate Anirudh Sharma was sentenced to three (3) months imprisonment and handed a fine of $10,000 to be paid within 30 days by the Suva High Court.
Defence Counsel Nawaikula in a Facebook post says that although he respects the decision of the High Court, he thinks that it is a “bad law.”
“As his counsel I respect the decision ,but I think it is a bad law ,somewhat similar to inciting. The law of inciting ,which has since been removed in England makes it a crime for any citizen to criticise the state. It is still the law in Fiji and is extended to also include inciting communal antagonism etc,” he wrote.
Anirudh Sharma had posted, in his Facebook Page malicious allegations about Magistrates court on disparity between some individuals charged with possession of drug.
Nawaikula says that he disagrees with the court’s decision and will appeal on the grounds that “that contempt must be the reserve of sitting judges or magistrate only and any one person that want to cite someone for contempt must use the same criminal process of reporting the matter to the police.”
“The court however disagreed citing existing authorities. I respect that but I disagree and will appeal on that ground, that is ” that contempt must be the reserve of sitting judges or magistrate only and any one person that want to cite someone for contempt must use the same criminal process of reporting the matter to the police,” he said in the Facebook post.
Nawaikula accused also accused Attorney General Aiyaz Saiyed Khaiyum that he instructed his Solicitors to use the rule under civil procedure and cite Anirudh Sharma for contempt. He added that Attorney General should not abuse the civil process and follow correct procedure.
“In this case , after Pastor Isikiel made that statement in his Facebook page, Hon Kaiyum instructed his solicitors in the AGs office to use a rule under civil procedure that allowed him to cite Pastor Isikiel for contempt using the civil process. I was very critical of this,” said Niko Nawaikula.