25 Oct 2006

Fiji lawyer jailed for attempting to pervert justice

8:21 pm on 25 October 2006

A lawyer who came into the limelight during the Fiji coup trials in 2004 has been jailed for 12 months for attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Abhay Singh had pleaded guilty to the charge for the offence which he committed in 2003 when he advised a prosecution witness in a corruption case to change his testimony and lie.

Police equipped the witness with a recording device which recoded their next conversation.

At first Abhay Singh denied that the voice on the tape was his but pleaded guilty before Justice Anthony Gates just before his trial was due to begin last week.

Sentencing Singh to 12 months in jail, Justice Gates said the courts would have little chance of doing right or justice if the sanctity of court evidence is not jealously guarded against manipulation.

He said Singh had violated his solicitor's oath to ensure that true and fair justice should prevail.

Singh's lawyer Mehboob Raza's verbal application for bail pending an appeal was refused on the grounds that a formal application would have to be made.