Fiji High Court judge throws out ‘cruel’ fines for covid rule breaches

Fiji Justice
Fiji justice ... sentences for covid-19 regulation breaches "degrading, disproportionate". Image: FBC

By RNZ Pacific

A High Court judge in Fiji has thrown out fines handed to 49 people who were caught breaching curfew or social gathering orders.

Justice Salesi Temo overruled the decisions of Magistrates Courts in Suva, Nausori, Tailevu, Vunidawa and Savusavu.

A night-time curfew and a ban on gatherings of more than a few people were imposed by the government in March, when the first case of covid-19 was found in Fiji.

Justice Temo yesterday ruled the fines meted were way too hefty, saying they were “cruel, degrading and disproportionate” for the offences committed.

Justice Temo also threw out the conviction of a 19-year-old girl who was convicted and fined F$500 for hugging her boyfriend at the Suva seawall, saying the publicity and guilty plea were punishment enough.

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