2 May 2014

Chaudhry character witness found in contempt by Fiji Court

7:39 pm on 2 May 2014

A character witness in former Fiji Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry's case has been found in contempt of court and his testimony invalid because of remarks he made against the government.

The Labour Party leader has been given until the end of next month to pay a fine of one point one million US dollars or he will be jailed for 15 months.

A month ago he was found guilty of having banked almost 1.5 million US dollars outside Fiji without the consent of the Reserve Bank of Fiji.

Chaudhry says he is considering lodging an appeal against his conviction and sentence.

A journalist who attended Mr Chaudhry's sentencing, Rosemary Masitabua, says the High Court said it had ruled out the testimony offered by Father Kevin Barr in mitigation.

"Mr Kevin Barr was found in contempt of court because before doing his character witness he said a few things against the current government. So the High Court decided to rule out his stand for character witness for Mr Chaudhry."

Rosemary Masitabua the nature of his comments against the military regime, or when they were said, were not outlined by the court.