Court finds Fiji Times guilty of contempt
Fiji Times Limited has been has been found guilty of contempt of court by High Court Judge Justice William Calanchini.
Justice Calanchini has today ruled that he has found Fiji Times Limited, the publisher at the time Brian O’Flaherty and Editor Fred Wesley guilty of contempt scandalizing the court.
The story related to comments printed in the sports pages about the judiciary by Oceania Football Confederation secretary Tai Nicholas.
Justice Calanchini said to the extent that the affidavit sworn by Wesley purported to explain the system they have, it is apparent from the affidavits of two reporters that whatever system was in place at the time was either ineffective, unsupervised or not sufficiently monitored.
In his judgement, Justice Calanchini said whatever the reason, the responsibility for the publication of the material must be borne by both the publisher and the editor.
Justice Calanchini also highlighted a further story in the Fiji Times on June 30th this year about the OFC president apologizing to the government and a photo right next to it showing the OFC making a $25,000 donation to the Prime Minister’s Flood Relief Fund.
He said the apology as printed is coming from a person who was not a party to the proceedings and had no direct involvement in the proceedings.
He has now invited counsel as part of the mitigation hearing to address him on why he should not consider the material on June 30th as an aggravating factor of a grave nature.
The mitigating submission hearing date is yet to be set.
Fiji Times was represented by QC Julian Miles while Acting Solicitor General Sharvada Sharma represented the Attorney General.
Story by: Vijay Narayan