FIJI LABOR PARTY LEADER CHAUDHRY GUILTY OF CONTEMPT

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SUVA, Fiji (April 8, 1998, PACNEWS/Ioane)---The leader of Fiji's Labor Party, Mahendra Chaudhry, has been found guilty of contempt in the High Court for alleging that judges and magistrates are corrupt.

However, Chaudhry was not fined by Justice Daniel Fatiaki. He was asked only to pay $F 500 ($US 256) in court costs, Island Networks Corporation reports.

Chaudhry said after his conviction Tuesday that he would consider the judgment and seek advise from his lawyer, Richard Naidu, before deciding what action to take next. He said he was not in a position to say whether he would appeal the decision.

The contempt case was instituted by the Attorney General against Chaudhry for alleging that the judiciary is corrupt. The case relates to a Labor Party activities report tabled at the party's annual gathering at Nadi last year, which claimed that "in several cases well known lawyers had been identified as receiving agents for magistrates and judges."

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