Friday, June 14, 2024
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Bail pending application for duo denied

The bail pending application for former Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and former Commissioner of Police Sitiveni Qiliho was today denied by Acting Chief Justice, Salesi Temo.

In delivering his ruling Justice Temo said Section 17(3) (c) of the Bail Act 2002 – the proportion of the original sentence that the applicant will have served when the appeal is heard.

“In my view, having carefully considered the appeal grounds, I  do not see a very high likelihood of success in the appeal, although that issue can only be honestly answered by the full Court of Appeal when it sits on the case.”

“In any event, it is highly likely that the appeal will be heard in 2024. Whether or not the two applicants succeed in the appeal, is neither here nor there, until the appeal is heard.”

“They must serve their sentence, as a matter of law, until their appeal results are known,” Justice Temo said.

He said the court also carefully considered the second applicant’s affidavit in support of the application for bail pending appeal.

Justice Temo said: “I had carefully considered the two applicant’s appeal petition and the grounds submitted thereunder.

He said before issuing the ruling, the Court needed to settle a preliminary point.

“In her submission on 23 May 2024, the State said the court was ‘functus officio’ in deciding the issue of bail pending appeal. She said, because this court had found the two applicants guilty as charged on the charges they faced, convicted them on the same, and sentenced them accordingly, this Court cannot decide the bail pending appeal issue.

Temo said: “I agree with Mr Sharma that I am ‘functus officio’ on the guilty, conviction, and sentencing matter, but not on the bail pending appeal matter.”

“The law relating to bail pending appeal is well settled. The presumption in favour of the granting of bail is displaced where the person has been convicted and has appealed against conviction (section 3(4) (b) of the Bail Act 2002).

The applicants have 30 days to appeal.

Ilaitia Ravuwai
Ilaitia Ravuwai
Journalist | news@fijilive.com

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