A re-trial was ordered in the Suva High Court today against a former Fiji Police Constable.
Mr. Sanita Laqenisici was charged by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) with two (2) counts of “Bribery” involving $200.00FJD and was acquitted of these charges last October by Magistrate Mr. Kashyapa Wickaramasekara.
High Court Judge Justice Mr. Thushara Rajasinghe ordered that the 2017 Judgment be set aside due to the substantial miscarriage of justice.
Furthermore he declared that the strength of the prosecution case and the interest of justice outweighed any prejudicial impact and a re-trial before another Magistrate was necessary.
In the Appeal hearing which was held in May, FICAC Prosecutor Mr. Rashmi Aslam pointed out the serious legal issues of the 2017 Judgment especially where the definition and understanding of what constituted an advantage and Bribery was concerned.
He also highlighted that the acquittal did not support the evidence produced in the hearing and that the Magistrate erred in law by criticising the investigators in his judgment.
Mr. Aslam emphasized that when an advantage is received, whether or not any favour is shown to the person who provided the advantage, it would still constitute as a Bribe.
He said the Defence had argued that it was a loan meant to be repaid by Mr. Laqenisici but failed to understand that under the Prevention of Bribery Act No. 12 of 2007, a loan is an advantage and when solicited and accepted by a Public Servant, becomes an act of Bribery.
The matter was adjourned to 4 September 2018 before the Chief Magistrate to take appropriate steps for an immediate re-trial.
Thirty (30) days was given for Appeal.