26 Feb 2013

FICAC rejects Qarase defence arguments

5:54 pm on 26 February 2013

Fiji's anti-corruption agency has rejected the defence arguments brought by the lawyer acting for a former Fiji Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase in the Court of Appeal.

Senior Counsel Michael Blanchflower, representing the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption, responded to submissions made yesterday (monday) by Mr Qarase's barrister Remy van de Wiel.

Qarase is challenging substantial facts in the case, in which he was found guilty of abuse of office and sentenced to 12 months imprisonment last year.

Our correspondent, Ricardo Morris, says Mr Blanchflower questioned the timing of the objections.

"In his submissions to the court of appeal bench of three justices today Michael Blanchflower says no objections were rasied at the end of the trial regarding redirection and linking to good character. He said much of the evidence in this case was unchallenged, uncontradicted and admitted and as such court of appeal is not the place to challenge proceedings of the High Court that was not challenged at the relevant time."

The appeal case continues tomorrow (wednesday).