Fijian Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum’s motion for committal proceedings against Suva lawyer Richard Naidu will have to be served on Mr Naidu, again.

The matter was called yesterday in the High Court in Suva before judge Justice Jude Nanayakarra.

Mr Naidu was represented conditionally by lawyers Jon Apted, Peter Knight, Subhas Parshotam, Suruj Sharma, Laurel Vaurasi, Filimoni Vosaroqo and Mele Rakai, while Devanesh Sharma and Gul Fatimah represented Mr Sayed-Khaiyum.

The hearing of the committal proceedings was scheduled to begin yesterday but Mr Apted told the court if it did, it would breach Order 52 rule 3 sub-rule 1 of the High Court Rules 1988, which states “when leave has been granted under rule 2 to apply for an order of committal, the application for the order must be made by motion and, unless the court granting leave has otherwise directed, there must be at least eight clear days between the service of the notice of motion and the day named therein for the hearing”.

“In this case, the plaintiffs did not manage to serve the defendant until last Thursday,” he said.

Mr Apted said the date of service and the date of the hearing were not to be counted in the calculation as there had to be eight full days in between those dates and only seven clear days had passed since Mr Naidu was served.

“So you don’t count either the start or the end, the eighth day would be tomorrow (today), and so it would be Monday at the earliest.”

Mr Sharma confirmed Mr Naidu was not served for eight clear days.

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Committal proceedings against Naidu to commence next week

“He was in the West on the day we went to serve him, but after that he informed my office that we could send an officer the next day to serve him,” he said.

Mr Apted submitted the court would have to adjourn the hearing until next week to which Justice Nanayakarra agreed upon.

Mr Sharma submitted there was no need to re-date and re-serve the motion and documents, however, Justice Nanayakarra said a re-dated motion for a later date needed to be served.

Mr Apted said they accepted that the applicants did not need to have a further eight days between service of the re-dated motion and the next date.

The committal proceedings were brought against Mr Naidu by Mr SayedKhaiyum, who alleged that a social media post by Mr Naidu sought to ridicule a judicial officer and the Fijian Judiciary as a whole, bring into disrepute and lower the reputation of the judicial officer and the administration of justice in Fiji and invite and encourage viewers of the post to cast aspersions against expatriate judicial officers.

The hearing will commence on Wednesday, July 13.


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