July 13, 2012
Tai Nicholas pleads guilty
July 13, 2012 | Filed under: Fiji News | Posted by: newsroom
By JYOTI PRATIBHA
Oceania Football Confederation’s general-secretary, Tai Nicholas’s lawyer pleaded guilty to the charge of contempt of court on behalf of his client at the High Court in Suva yesterday.
Nicholas, who lives in New Zealand, was charged with contempt of court for making comments last November regarding Fiji’s judiciary.
According to a Ministry of Information release, Nicholas’ lawyer appeared before Judge Justice William Calanchini and entered the guilty plea upon instructions of his client.
Justice Calanchini formally entered Nicholas’s guilty plea and found him guilty of contempt of court.
Nicholas has been given 28 days to file necessary documents in support of his plea in mitigation.
The case will be called on August 24.
A related proceeding for contempt of court against the Fiji Times Limited and its editor and publisher, for publishing Nicholas’ statements in The Fiji Times was before the High Court on Monday.
A ruling will be given on notice.
Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, said Fiji’s judiciary was independent.
“Fiji has a fully operational, independent, impartial and transparent judiciary,” he said.
“It is the duty of the Attorney-General to guarantee that all appropriate measures are taken to ensure that the authority and independence of the judiciary is not undermined in any way, including by any baseless comments.”
“We have also seen some individuals and groups who have sought to undermine the judiciary and administration of justice for their own political and/or personal agendas. We will be equally vigilant with such persons and groups, both local and foreign.”
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum, acting in the public interest, brought court proceedings against Nicholas, saying that Nicholas’ comments amounted to contempt of court, as they scandalised the court and posed the risk of undermining public confidence in the independence and impartiality of the Fijian judiciary and the administration of justice in Fiji.