The Labasa Magistrates Court yesterday handed down suspended sentences to three individuals convicted of breaching the Electoral Act.
Resident Magistrate Ms. Senileba Levaci sentenced Mr. Ritesh Dayal and Mr. Sanju Sharma to eighteen (18) months imprisonment and Mr. Sukh Singh received a sentence of fifteen (15) months imprisonment, all of which are suspended for two (2) years.
The three (3) are also required to pay a fine of $200.00 within thirty (30) days or face an extra twenty (20) days in prison.
The Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) charged Dayal and Sharma with one count each of "Contravention of Campaign Rules" for preventing the display of a FijiFirst poster, while Singh was charged with "Aiding and Abetting" the two accused in 2014.
The three (3) also received an alternative third count of "Non Interference in Campaign" as their actions hindered lawful campaign activity.
In her ruling, Resident Magistrate Ms. Levaci said that the Court strongly denounced these forms of offences and that Electoral laws are implemented to ensure proper procedures are followed not just by election candidates but also by members of the public.
Resident Magistrate Ms. Levaci further emphasized that the sentencing given should discourage offences similar in nature from reoccurring and urged members of the community to comply and adhere to Election laws.
Twenty eight (28) days was given for Appeal.