Police are in the process of looking at issues for appeal in relation to the ruling of Nadi Magistrate Siromi Turaga yesterday where he acquitted two people charged with Failure to Comply with Orders of the Public Health Act and said that the prosecution is prosecuting the accused on a non-existent law and the charge is bad in law.
Under the particulars of the charge by Police, Ravin Lal and Shalvin Chand on the 9th day of April, 2020 in Nadi without lawful exercise failed to comply with orders of the Prime Minister of Fiji by breaking the curfew hours, an order that was deemed necessary for the protection of public health from an infectious disease, namely Novel Coronavirus.
In his judgement, Magistrate Turaga said the prosecution is relying on a declaration by the Prime Minister but not made by the Minister of Health pursuant to his powers set out in section (69)1 of the principal Act nor made pursuant to the Public Health [Infectious Diseases] Regulation 2020.
Magistrate Turaga further said in his view, the charge in this case is defective.
Lal and Chand had pleaded guilty to the charge.
The Police Prosecution has 28 days to appeal.
Meanwhile Fijivillage can confirm that the government has already gazetted Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete’s order under the Public Health Act 1935 on April 4th.
First page of the government gazette issued on the 4th April 2020. Click here for full gazette:
On that date, Doctor Waqainabete gave notice of his order for the Lautoka lockdown with effect from March 20th,2020 which was made pursuant to section 69(1)(c) of the Public Health Act for the protection of public health, and publicly announced on March 19th any school within the Greater Lautoka Area, any business within the Greater Lautoka Area that is not an essential business and any nightclub, gym, cinema, swimming pool or fitness centre.
Doctor Waqainabete’s directive for Suva to be locked down was also gazetted on April 4th and to be in effect from April 2nd.
The directives by Permament Secretary for Health, Bernadette Welch on 14 days self isolation or self quarantine, people to stay in the Lautoka lockdown area, outsiders not to enter the lockdown area and the ban on any gathering of 20 or more people or any contact sporting engagement for the whole of Fiji was also gazetted on April 4th for the date going forward from March 20th. The same was done for the Suva lockdown area from April 3rd.
The directives for less than 20 people in restaurants, the delivery of goods, 2 metres physical distancing in the queue, the ceasing of inter-island shipping services, the curfew period, any person entering Fiji to be quarantined in a designated centre, hospital, camp or station with effect from March 28th, 2020 have also been gazetted.
Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum is expected to have a press conference later today.
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