Acting CJ to rule on Bainimarama/Qiliho’s bail pending appeal application next Thursday

Acting CJ to rule on Bainimarama/Qiliho’s bail pending appeal application next Thursday

By Rashika Kumar
Thursday 23/05/2024
Former Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and suspended Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho

Acting Chief Justice Salesi Temo will deliver his ruling next Thursday in the matter where the lawyer for former Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and suspended Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho have applied for bail pending appeal.

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Bainimarama has been sentenced to 1 year imprisonment after being found guilty of one count of attempt to pervert the course of justice in the University of the South Pacific case while Qiliho has been sentenced to 2 years imprisonment for the charge of abuse of office.

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Bainimarama and Qiliho's lawyer Devanesh Sharma argues that Bainimarama and Qiliho have a very strict chance of success on appeal, the appeal will be granted nugatory if bail was not granted, there is a clear error of law by the High Court in not allowing the appeal on the ground of the DPP's ground of appeal, the sentence of the Magistrate was not null and void, the Judge erred in law by not revising himself when he had predetermined the appeal against sentence on the 3rd of April and both Bainimarama and Qiliho filed an appeal against conviction.

Sharma cross-examined DPP’s trial lawyer for the case, Nimisha Shankar where she had provided an affidavit stating her opinion that the grounds appeal are unlikely to be successful.

When asked if she or Acting DPP late Ratu David Toganivalu had objected to the news article about CID investigations in June 2020 relating to a protest at USP, Shankar says that they did not object to it.

Sharma argues that the Brown and Dunn rule was not breached which prevents the 'ambush' of a witness by not giving him an opportunity to state his position with respect to later evidence which contradicts him on an essential matter.

DPP's lawyer Nancy Tikoisuva had objected stating that these are appeal matters and an appeal has been filed by Bainimarama and Qiliho's lawyer.

The Acting Chief Justice stated that facts in the High Court and the Magistrates Court cannot be challenged in the bail application.

In their argument, Tikoisuva states that Acting Chief Justice has made his decision finality in this case and he cannot go back and assess his own decision.

She says an appeal has been made and any matters arising now are the purview of the Appeal Court.

Tikoisuva says Justice Temo will have to assess the likelihood of success of the appeal which means he will have to go through the grounds of appeal that Sharma proposes and relook at the conviction and sentencing.

She also provided Supreme Court case laws supporting her grounds, however, Sharma pointed out that these civil cases and not applicable.

Sharma also says that Justice Temo does have jurisdiction to grant bail as he will be looking at the matters of law and the likelihood of success of based on law.

Meanwhile, Bainimarama’s doctor, Dr Joji Malani will be meeting the Fiji Corrections Service and Bainimarama to discuss his medical needs today.

Click here for stories on the Bainimarama and Qiliho case

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