30 May 2019

Fiji court sentences Chaudhry to jail over FB posts

4:22 pm on 30 May 2019

A Fiji court has sentenced the son of a former prime minister to 15 months in jail over Facebook comments deemed scandalous towards Fiji's judiciary.

Rajendra Chaudhry is the son of Fiji's first Indo-Fijian prime minister Mahendra Chaudhry and lives in New Zealand.

Guilty: Rajendra Chaudhry.

Guilty: Rajendra Chaudhry. Photo: Fijivillage

FBC news reports Rajendra Chaudhry was found guilty of contempt of court in April.

He has also been fined $US23,145 by the High Court in Suva.

The court heard that last September Rajendra Chaudhry posted a range of scandalous, defamatory and derogatory comments against the judiciary.

Acting Chief Justice Kamal Kumar has ordered a warrant for the Auckland-based lawyer's arrest.

He said he'd shown no remorse for his action and that his comments were unwarranted and scandalous.

He said technology is developing rapidly and people should avoid posting unwarranted content.

Rajendra Chaudhry is disputing the court's jurisdiction over a New Zealand resident.

Rajendra Chaudhry told RNZ Pacific he believed the issue of jurisdiction had to be settled first.

"I was served with these proceedings just before the Fijian elections late last year and I challenged the issue of jurisdiction and I have never responded or haven't been given an opportunity to respond to the actual allegations against me but I believe the Fijian courts have no jurisdiction over a New Zealand resident," Rajendra Chaudhry said.