27 Feb 2013

Qarase appeal case in Fiji court ends

4:15 pm on 27 February 2013

The appeal case of a former Fiji Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase has ended, with a decision to be handed down on notice.

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.

The offences relate to activities in the 1990s when Qarase was a director of Fijian Holdings Limited.

Our correspondent, Ricardo Morris, says Qarase's lawyer, Remy van de Wiel, told the court that the trial judge has a duty to raise all possible defences.

"Even where the defence lawyer disregards, overlooks or requests that a particular defence is not mentioned. He said it is an over-arching duty of the trial judge to put all the alternatives to the assessors to ensure a fair trial."

During the appeal, the prosecution stressed that the assessors were given first hand evidence and credible witnesses in the trial.

The three judges will now deliberate.