Lawyer: I have paid $120k

Lautoka-based human rights lawyer Aman Ravindra-Singh. Picture: FILE

Lautoka-based human rights lawyer Aman Ravindra-Singh says he has paid $120,000 to Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum as ordered by the High Court in a defamation decision in 2020.

He said he had not paid the $120,000 earlier because he did not have the money at the time, but had taken a loan and liquidated assets and had deposited the full amount with the official receiver.

He made the comments as High Court judge Justice Jude Nanayakkara refused his application for permanent stay of the committal proceedings brought against him. Justice Nanayakkara said permanent stay was an exceptional remedy awarded when all other avenues and remedies had been exhausted.

He said Mr Ravindra-Singh had not exhausted all remedies available to him after the court found him guilty and convicted him of being in contempt of court for not paying.

Counsel for the plaintiffs, Gul Fatimah, in making sentencing submissions asked the court that a custodial sentence be imposed on Mr Ravindra-Singh in the higher range, as he continued to use “violent Voreqe” and “corrupt Khaiyum” after Justice Lyone Seneviratne said they were in his opinion defamatory.

She said he had also delayed in complying with the orders of the court.

Mr Ravindra-Singh took the stand to give evidence and said that the opinion of a judge was not a court order, and no injunction or gag order was made stopping him from referring to the plaintiffs as such.

He said he removed the defamatory post immediately as ordered by the court, published a public retraction and apology of his statements on his social media and in the print media.

The matter will be called on Monday for sentencing.

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