2 December, 2022, 2:55 pm Central - 30°C Rain

Windsor Court Magistrate lifts name suppression order of 36 yr old Bainimarama

Windsor Court Magistrate lifts name suppression order of 36 yr old Bainimarama

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 16/09/2022
[Photo: Sydney Community Legal Centre]

Sydney's  Windsor Court has lifted the name suppression order in the case of 36 year old Ratu Meli Bainimarama who is facing 17 charges.

He is accused of common assault, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, stalking and intentionally choking a person without consent, destroying or damaging property and intentionally distributing an intimate image without consent.

The ABC reports that the Fijian national's lawyer had successfully applied for a nationwide suppression order on proceedings over the weekend but this order was lifted by Magistrate Leanne Robinson in Sydney's Windsor courthouse today.

Arguing for the non-publication order to be continued, Bainimarama's lawyer, Tony Edwards said news coverage could see information published that would not be available to jurors, in the event of a future trial.

Edwards said there is information in the antecedence of the fact sheet that relates to the accused's personal relationships that would certainly not form part of any information that would be before a jury in a trial, that is likely to be of significant interest to news media organisations.

He also cited publications which had already occurred, arguing defamatory allegations had already been published.

He told the court that Bainimarama will rely on his good character in his defence.

Edwards said the publication of this material has happened with these orders in existence of your honour. The Guardian reports that at the hearing today, lawyers for the ABC challenged the name suppression order, arguing that not allowing the publication of the defendant's name went against the principle of open justice.

The lawyer representing the ABC, Corey Jankie, said to suggest somehow the reporting of materials now will somehow influence jurors 12 months down the track is fanciful.

In handing down her judgement, Magistrate Robinson said there was nothing particularly unusual about the case to justify a non-publication order.

She said there is nothing particular about the nature of the allegations themselves that raises any extraordinariness.

The Magistrate said unfortunately, they are the kind of charges that come before the local court [often].

Magistrate Robinson went on to say she was not satisfied there would be such news interest that it would be necessary to have a non-publication order to prevent prejudice to the admission of justice, noting that matters featuring prominent people such as NRL players were reported on regularly.

The ABC also reports that several Fijian men attended Windsor court yesterday when the matter was mentioned.

They said they were interested to hear the proceedings as it was a matter of great interest for the local Fijian community.

The Guardian reports that Bainimarama did not appear in person and his lawyer appeared via audio link.

Bainimarama is currently on bail and his matter is due back in court on October 13th.

He has not entered a plea.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that NSW Police earlier refused bail, but it was granted over the weekend at Parramatta Bail Court under conditions including that he surrender his passport, report daily to police and pay a AUD$20,000 surety.

Source : ABC/The Guardian/Sydney Morning Herald

Latest Videos

Stay tuned for the latest news on our radio stations

CFL radio frequencies
Womens Rugby World Cup 2022
Quarter-final qualification is now the goal for the Rooster Chicken Fijiana 15โ€™s following their 21-17 victory against South Africa.
43 days ago

Queen Elizabeth II passes away
Queen Elizabeth II, the UK's longest-serving monarch, has died aged 96, after reigning for 70 years.
73 days ago

Fiji wins Melrose Cup after 17 years
Fiji wins the RWC 7s title after 17 year drought
75 days ago
Our depth will be tested โ€“ Gollings
Fiji Airways Menโ€™s National 7s coach Ben Gollings believes that they have the calibre of players that can execute their aim to win the Dubai 7s this...
3 hours ago
Time period for voting during pre-poll for each area depends on the number of voters โ€“ Saneem
As pre-polling starts from Monday in over 660 locations, Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem says the time period for voting for each area ...
2 hours ago

Greater Good Street Dog Sanctuary launches Fiji Street Dog Hero program
In its efforts to keep Fijiโ€™s only street dog shelter from closure, The Greater Good Foundation has launched a new regular supporter program and ...
2 hours ago

RHAF encourages people to get tested for HIV to know their status
The Reproductive Health Association of Fiji is encouraging people to get tested for HIV/AIDS to know their status. While marking World AIDS Day ...
3 hours ago

Tourism Fiji expects 600,000 guests by the end of 2022
Tourism Fiji CEO Brent Hill says over the past 12 months they have welcomed 520,312 tourists as of the end of October and they expect to welcome ...
3 hours ago

Public apology
In 2018, fijivillage ran a live video report during the general elections count with a caption that read โ€œSemi Turaga reporting live from the Fiji ...
3 hours ago