Beware, Key­board War­riors

Shailen­dra Raju, a one-time aide of ex- SDL Prime Min­is­ter Laise­nia Qarase, be­ing sued for $1mil­lion

Fiji Sun - - Bala To Crown Sugar Queen Tonight New-look - JY­OTI PRAT­I­BHA

Over­seas key­board war­riors who take pot shots at Fi­jians here, beware. They can no longer de­fame peo­ple on­line and think they can get away with it.

A High Court in Lau­toka gave a ground­break­ing rul­ing yes­ter­day.

It granted leave to lawyers of Su­per­vi­sor of Elec­tions Mo­hammed Sa­neem to serve le­gal doc­u­ments to a Fi­jian re­sid­ing in New Zealand, who had al­legedly de­famed Mr Sa­neem and his fam­ily on Face­book. Shailen­dra Raju, a one­time aide of for­mer

So­qosoqo Dua­vata ni Leweni­vanua (SDL) Prime Min­is­ter Laise­nia Qarase, is be­ing sued for $1mil­lion and pa­pers will be served on him. Mr Raju has been vo­cal on so­cial me­dia, al­legedly prop­a­gat­ing fake news and al­legedly de­fam­ing Fi­jians who do not share his po­lit­i­cal views.

Pa­pers will be served to him on Mon­day at his work­place: Pulse En­ergy, Level 5, 33 En­field Street, Mt Eden 1024, Auck­land in New Zealand. Rep­re­sent­ing Mr Sa­neem is lawyer Shailend Kr­ishna of Kr­ishna and Com­pany, a firm based in Lau­toka.

Lawyer speaks:

Mr Kr­ishna said this case would set the pace in Fiji for tak­ing peo­ple to task.

He said these in­di­vid­u­als who live in an­other coun­try, be­hind the com­puter on a key­board dis­parag­ing char­ac­ters of in­di­vid­u­als here in Fiji needed to learn and stop their at­tack­ing of in­di­vid­u­als and their fam­i­lies. “The lan­guage they use is shock­ing, they are ob­vi­ously not pro­duc­tive with their time at all,” Mr Kr­ishna said.

“If that in­di­vid­ual thinks they are in an­other coun­try and can get away with it, I se­ri­ously sug­gest that they think very hard again.

“There is a law called the Re­cip­ro­cal En­force­ment of Judg­ments in their coun­try of res­i­dence.” This ba­si­cally means any judg­ment or or­der given or made by a court in any civil pro­ceed­ings where any sum of money is made payable and in­cludes an award in pro­ceed­ings on an ar­bi­tra­tion, if the award has in pur­suance of the law, it be­comes en­force­able in the same man­ner as a judg­ment given by a court in that place (mean­ing the coun­try of res­i­dence where the per­son is be­hind the com­puter on a key­board dis­parag­ing char­ac­ters of in­di­vid­u­als in Fiji.) “There is a dif­fer­ence be­tween writ­ing con­struc­tively and writ­ing harm­ful, false al­le­ga­tions and hate­ful words on blog sites,” Mr Kr­ishna said.

“Peo­ple have to un­der­stand and ap­pre­ci­ate that the law has de­vel­oped in Fiji – and has for a very long time – in that you can­not cause im­pu­ta­tion which in­jures a per­son's rep­u­ta­tion by ex­pos­ing him to ha­tred, con­tempt or ridicule or an im­pu­ta­tion, which tends to make a per­son be shunned or avoided and fur­ther an im­pu­ta­tion, which is likely to lower a per­son in the es­ti­ma­tion of right-think­ing peo­ple.”

The case:

Mr Raju had posted a sta­tus on his Face­book page, which is open to the pub­lic, al­legedly de­fam­ing Mr Sa­neem and his fam­ily.

When Mr Sa­neem in­formed Mr Raju of his de­ci­sion to pur­sue this mat­ter legally, Mr Raju al­legedly re­moved the post and blamed a third party for send­ing him the in­for­ma­tion be­fore he blocked Mr Sa­neem from his mes­sen­ger. How­ever, his post had al­ready been widely shared on other fo­rums on Face­book and had reached more than 10,000 peo­ple.

Raju:

Mr Raju was a ju­nior aide in the of­fice of Mr Qarase and had claimed he could not at­tend his mother’s funeral in Fiji be­cause he was on a watch list. He did not sub­stan­ti­ate this claim. He claimed to have hired law firm Singh & Singh to re­spond to the le­gal ac­tion filed on be­half of Mr Sa­neem. When con­tacted yes­ter­day lawyer Anand Singh of Singh & Singh de­nied rep­re­sent­ing him.

“I am not act­ing for him,” Mr Singh con­firmed. Feed­back: jy­otip@fi­jisun.com.fj

The lan­guage they use is shock­ing... Shailend Kr­ishna Lawyer, rep­re­sent­ing Mo­hammed Sa­neem

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