Fiji Times Ltd found guilty of contempt of court
Media reports suggest that Justice William Calanchini of the Fiji High Court has found Fiji Times Limited, publisher Brian O'Flaherty and editor Fred Wesley guilty of contempt of court for an article published in November 2011 that criticised the judiciary in Fiji.
Justice Calanchini is reported to have found Mr O'Flaherty and Mr Wesley liable as publisher and editor under strict liability principles even though neither was on duty at the time of the offence.
Justice Calanchini said that views attributed to Oceania Football Confederation secretary Tai Nicholas in the article amounted to a contempt of court because a fair minded and reasonable person reading them would conclude that 'those who claim to be performing judicial functions in Fiji are not in fact a judiciary at all' and presented a "real risk to the administration of justice in Fiji by undermining the authority, integrity and impartiality of the court and the judiciary".
Fiji Times Limited was represented by Julian Miles QC while acting Solicitor-General Sharvada Sharma represented the Attorney-General.
A mitigation hearing is said to be the next step before sentencing.
Fiji has been criticised in recent years for proceeding with contempt of court charges that infringe international human rights to freedom of opinion and freedom of expression.