High Court Judge, Justice Thushara Rajasinghe has ruled that Fiji Times Limited, Publisher Hank Arts, Editor Fred Wesley, Nai Lalakai Editor Anare Ravula and Contributor Josaia Waqabaca have a case to answer.
In his ruling, Justice Rajasinghe said that upon consideration, he was satisfied that the prosecution presented some circumstantial evidence and therefore disputed the submission made by the defence.
Fred Wesley who is the first defence witness took the stand this morning.
The Fiji Times Editor in chief Fred Wesley told the court that he did not receive the letter, he did not see the letter he had no knowledge of the letter and he did not authorise the letter to be published.
While opening the case, his lawyer, Marc Corlette asked the court how can someone be guilty if they have done nothing.
While giving evidence, Fred Wesley confirmed he has been a journalist for 26 years and first joined the Fiji times in 2005.
When asked on his understanding of the role of a Publisher, Wesley said that a Publisher sets the direction of a newspaper.
Wesley also confirmed that he did not read the Nai Lalakai newspaper as he had difficulty reading the iTaukei language.
He also confirmed that he has never read the Nai Lalakai.
Wesley said that as Editor of The Fiji Times, he sets the direction of a newspaper and also ensures that the letters to editor is checked.
Wesley also confirmed that part of his responsibility is that all editors of The Fiji Times report to him.
Wesley said that all editors are responsible for completing their pages and that it is the editors that review the pages before they are sent for printing.
It was revealed that the circulation figure for the Nai-Lalakai newspaper was around 6,000. The paper was meant for readers who understand and can read the Itaukei language. Their readership is mainly based in the rural areas and parts of the country where Itaukei people live.
With regards to the content of the other 3 newspapers under the Fiji Times umbrella Wesley said that as the editor in chief he would only look at article if there were issues that needed direction.
He told the court that Anare Ravula had never brought a Nai Lalakai article for him to read.
Wesley added that the publisher Hank Arts has never dictated what goes on the paper because he plays a different role and says this is to avoid interference .
He also confirmed that the Fiji Times owners have never dictated the contents of the newspaper.
The trial continues tomorrow.