Fijivillage
NEWS SPORTS
24 September, 2020, 2:15 pm Central - 25°C Rain
ACCF
ACCF

Justice Temo quashes sentences in 49 breach of curfew and social gathering cases
Conviction and sentence of 19-yr-old woman who hugged and kissed her bf at Suva sea wall set aside

Justice Temo quashes sentences in 49 breach of curfew and social gathering cases

Conviction and sentence of 19-yr-old woman who hugged and kissed her bf at Suva sea wall set aside

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 14/05/2020
High Court Judge Justice Salesi Temo

High Court Judge, Justice Salesi Temo has today quashed and set aside fines imposed by the Magistrates Courts in Suva, Nausori, Tailevu, Vunidawa and Savusavu in 49 cases which dealt with people breaching the curfew hours or social gathering directives.

For these cases, Justice Temo has ruled that the magistrates are to re-sentence the accused persons, after taking on board what is recorded in his judgement.

Justice Temo has also quashed and set aside the 19-year-old woman’s conviction and sentence by the Suva Magistrates Court on 22nd April this year.

He has also dismissed the charge against her without recording a conviction.

While delivering his ruling, Justice Temo says the 19-year-old university student was charged for kissing and hugging her boyfriend at the Suva seawall on April 20th.

He says the woman pleaded guilty on the first call, was remorseful for her action, is a second-year university student, is living with her parents and is a member of the Suva Rotary Club.

Judge Temo says we are dealing here with a youth, a student, as a 19-year-old having a boyfriend is part and parcel of life and she is striving to better her future.

Justice Temo says this case clearly demonstrates the non-attendance to the constitutional demands of Section 11 (1) of the Bill of Rights of the 2013 Fijian Constitution.

He says the imposition of the higher penalties brought about by the Public Health Act must be done while taking into account the obligation in Section 11 (1) of the Constitution.

The section says that every person has the right to freedom from torture of any kind, whether physical, mental or emotional and from cruel, inhumane, degrading or disproportionately severe treatment or punishment.

In the case of the 19-year-old woman, Justice Temo says the magistrate should have paused before entering a formal conviction.

He says her plea in mitigation revealed information that would make a sentence under the Public Health Act be inconsistent with the demands of the Bill of Rights of the Constitution.

Justice Temo says the Bill of Rights is the supreme law and the courts are bound to implement it.

The woman was fined $500.

He says some of the fines imposed were cruel, inhumane, degrading or disproportionately severe treatment or punishment given the personal and financial circumstances of the accused.

Justice Temo says through the mass media and on radio, it had been brought to the attention of the court that hefty fines had been imposed on offenders who were found guilty and it appeared that they do not have the financial means to pay such fines. He says the court had called on the 51 files to examine this issue.

Judge Temo says generally speaking, the majority of the accused persons were ordinary members of the public, and most were unemployed or subsistence farmers.

He says if they were working, they were not earning that much in a week. He further says that generally speaking, they were imposed fines between $300 to $2,000, and most of them did not have the financial means to pay the fine.

Justice Temo also says that the magistrates acknowledged there was no sentencing tariff from the superior courts so they were left to exercise their sentencing discretion.

Stay tuned for the latest news on our radio stations

CFL radio frequencies
IN DEPTH
Pollution in Suva
Serious concerns raised as research shows microplastic in fish and other seafood sources in ...
21 hours ago

RKS students stage protests against their principal
Akbar says they hope to resume classes at RKS on Monday but this will depend on the recommendations by the investigating ...
17 days ago

Fiji Airways In Depth
Fiji Airways extends the cancellation of scheduled international flights to September.Read the full coverage ...
30 days ago
FEATURE NEWS
Man who murdered a sex worker sentenced to life in prison by Suva High Court
A 43-year-old Chinese national who murdered a sex worker in May last year has been sentenced to life imprisonment by Suva High Court Judge, Justice Da...
2 hours ago
LATEST NEWS
SANZAAR hit back at New Zealand Rugby
SANZAAR boss Andy Marinos doesn't think the Rugby Championship is at risk of not going ahead despite New Zealand Rugby expressing their ...
13 minutes ago

It is only fair that a household gets one stall – Kumar
Minister for Local Government, Premila Kumar confirms some market masters have been relieved of their duties and all municipal councils are now under ...
1 hour ago

Five villages in Yasawa to benefit from fruit tree planting materials and home gardening packages
Five villages from three districts in the Yasawa group of islands are earmarked to benefit from the Ministry of Agriculture's 'Village Nutrition ...
3 hours ago

Police investigating aspect of negligence in drowning incidents involving children
Police have confirmed that they are now looking into a possible case of negligence in all the drowning incidents concerning children this ...
3 hours ago

207 new junior nurses posted to CWM, Lautoka and Labasa hospitals
207 new junior nurses have been posted to the CWM, Lautoka and Labasa hospitals. They are now part of the health system and will be appointed as ...
5 hours ago

TOP