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Fiji Opposition MP Lynda Tabuya granted bail
4:36 pm GMT+12, 30/03/2020, Fiji

Fiji's Opposition MP Lynda Tabuya has been granted bail by the Suva Magistrates Court.
 
Tabuya was detained from Thursday, 26 March and subsequently charged on 27 March with alleged Malicious Acts, under the Public Order Act.
 
It’s alleged that Tabuya on 19March maliciously posted through social media platform Facebook profile namely:
 
“Lynda Tabuya” false news “Stock up food Viti! Have a guaranteed farm supply. It’s about to get real! #COVIDready and “Lets just get one thing straight Fiji, the Government brought Coronavirus into Fiji, NOT Soko #StopBlamingThePeople #CriminalNegligence”, tending to create or foster public alarm, public anxiety or disaffection.
 
In court earlier, the State objected to bail on several conditions, one of which was that the case is of national interest, in addition, the accused did not cooperate with the investigation, refused to answer questions and did not hand over her phone for the police investigation.
 
Lawyers for Tabuya while submitting her bail application argued that in reference to the Bail Act, their client was entitled to bail having already been detained for 96 hours as at 2pm Monday.
 
Furthermore, the defense counsel told the court that pursuant to the relevant legislation, their client was charged on the Friday with the offence and should have within the 24 hours of that been produced in court.
 
This they say was not the case and was clearly evident.
 
In addition, Tabuya’s legal team submitted to the court that the 47-year-old Mother of six is a first offender, did not pose a flight risk given the current national COVID-19 situation and would not interfere with witnesses.
 
Meanwhile, in response to the charge, Tabuya entered a plea of not guilty.
 
The Chief Magistrate Usaia Ratuvili granted bail.
 
He further instructed that the accused would have to:
 
· Pay a non cash bond of $2000 (US$1,000).
· Temporarily deactivate all her social media accounts for the duration of the court proceedings
· Not change her current residential address
· Report every fortnight to her nearest Police Station on a Friday.
· Surrender all travel documents
· Not to interfere with State Witnesses in the case
 
In addition, a stop departure order was also issued against Tabuya.
 
Sureties for the accused included fellow SODELPA member and former Opposition Leader – Ro Teimumu Kepa and Tabuya’s sister.
 
The case is scheduled to be recalled on 06 April....

SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS


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