12 Nov 2015

New Caledonia court ruling stuns defence lawyer

2:14 pm on 12 November 2015

The Paris-based lawyer of a former New Caledonian president, Harold Martin, says he is stunned at the court verdict which sentenced his client to prison over the awarding of a contract.

On Monday, Martin was given a two-year jail sentence for favouritism over the way he used his position as a board member to give an associate a 29 million US dollar telecommunications contract.

Harold Martin

Harold Martin Photo: AFP

In an open letter, his lawyer says the court decision is shocking because it is unprecedented.

He says a jail term was meted out although Martin was not personally enriched.

Furthermore, a ruling was made just four days after the hearing of a complex case.

The letter says making Martin ineligible to hold office for five years gives the impression that the judicial process has been used to remove him from the political scene.

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