Tabuya, Bainivalu in court

Member of parliament and opposition whip Lynda Tabuya appeared in the magistrates court in Suva today before Chief Magistrate Usaia Ratuvili to face charges over ‘malicious acts’ over social media posts relating to the COVID-19 crisis. 

She was taken in for questioning on Thursday (26th March) and was kept in police custody through the weekend until her court appearance today.

Present outside the courtroom were family members and members of the SODELPA and the Opposition which included Marama Roko Tui Dreketi and Lenora Qereqeretabua.

Meanwhile members of the media were initially not allowed in but three media organisations were eventually allowed in to the court room.

Former Fiji First Party candidate Nemani Bainivalu was also in court this morning to answer to similar charges.

Bainivalu was allowed bail with strict conditions and will appear again in May. He was represented by Mohini Pillay.

Tabuya and Bainivalu’s posts allegedly contravened Section 15(a) of the Public Order Act .

Meanwhile Tabuya’s lawyers applied for bail and reminded the court she had been in custody for between 90-96 hours, a breach of Section 11(1) of the Bail Act 2002.

Magistrate Ratuvili is expected to make a ruling on the bail application at 2.30pm today.

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