12 Nov 2018

Appeal against Rabuka dismissed by Chief Justice

9:29 pm on 12 November 2018

An appeal involving the Fiji politician Sitiveni Rabuka has been dismissed by the High Court at Suva.

The Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) was appealing against Mr Rabuka's acquittal last month of an electoral offence.

Applause broke out after Fiji's Chief Justice Anthony Gates delivered his judgement to the packed court room while hundreds of Mr Rabuka's supporters waited outside.

Mr Rabuka said he wanted to thank his supporters for their prayers.

"Great and getting better," he said when asked how he was feeling.

Magistrate Jioji Boseiwaqa had earlier found Mr Rabuka not guilty of charges relating to the declaration of his assets, income and liabilities as required under the Political Parties Act.

FICAC immediately lodged an appeal on 15 grounds of fundamental legal and factual errors.

Among his findings, Chief Justice Gates ruled essential elements of the case had not been proved and that Mr Rabuka's caution interview with FICAC had left many answers "unprobed or unclarified."

"Further clarifications would have been needed to establish proof beyond reasonable doubt of wrongdoing," he said.

"This appeal was a complex matter requiring a great deal of hard work and preparation and because of the time constraints no doubt all other work would have had to have been put aside," he said.

FICAC was ordered to pay FJ$4000 (US$1,900) in costs to Mr Rabuka within 14 days.