#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: 'Learned judge' or hanging judge?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

'Learned judge' or hanging judge?

High Court Judge Justice Daniel Goundar delivered his judgment in the FICAC trial against two former senior executives of Post Fiji Limited (PFL) yesterday.

Addressing a packed courtroom, Justice Goundar (pictured above) said that he had adjourned over night on Monday to consider the verdict of the three Assessors.

The Assessors delivered a mixed decision for first accused Tevita Peni Mau with two finding him guilty and one not guilty while they unanimously found Mahendra Motibhai Patel not guilty on the Abuse of Office charge.

Justice Goundar said while he took into consideration the opinion of the Assessors, he was not bound by their opinions. He added that the Assessors express opinion but the trial judge gives the verdict.

Making reference to the first accused Mau, Justice Goundar said that he had accepted the evidence of prosecution witness Luke Narara that the Logistics Management Procedures contained in the Post Fiji Governance Manual applied to the purchase of the clock. He added that it did not matter that the Board of Directors or the Ministry of Public Enterprises did not approve the Manual, what mattered was that the procedures were accepted to be applicable at the relevant period.

The learned Judge was also satisfied that the exceptions for the tender procedures did not apply in this case. “I do not think the need to install the clock before the South Pacific Games or the fact that Prouds was the sole agent for the Seiko Clock in Fiji were circumstances to justify the deviation from tender procedures” he said.

In the caution interview Mau had denied any knowledge of the existence of the manual that contained the tender procedures. Judge Goundar said the prosecution had produced a witness who verified that Mau issued the circular on 8th April 2003.

“I find the denial of knowledge of the existence of the Manual was a deliberate lie,” he said. 

The learned judge said he approached the evidence of Naidu with caution as he had made previous statements that conflicted with his evidence in court. He said that he found the inconsistencies arising from the previous out of court statement to be immaterial and insignificant.

Upon convicting Mau on one count of Abuse of Office, Justice Goundar said that the motive of Mau was clear, he wanted to confer a favour to the Chairman of the board of Directors.

“I feel sure that this was his motive when he deviated from the tender procedures to approve the purchase of the clock for $75,000.00 from Motibhai and Company limited.

Moving onto the second accused Mahendra Motibhai Patel, Justice Goundar said that he held significant regard to the fact that he holds good character.

Judge Goundar made reference to first witness Adish Naidu’s evidence stating that Naidu felt obliged to comply with the suggestions of the Senior Executives of PFL because he was given the tender for the renovation of the General Post Office building.  

The learned judge added that Naidu struck him as a genuine and honest witness although he appeared to be a person that pleased others.

“I accept Naidu’s evidence that the second accused expressed a desire to supply the clock and that he directed Naidu to one Bhupendra Patel of Motibhai & Company Limited,” he said.

He added that he found the evidence of the second accused that he only came to know about the clock from the company in June implausible.

Judge Goundar also accepted the evidence of two former board members. He accepted that Powell had questioned Patel on the purchase the clock and that she felt powerless to follow it up. The judge also accepted that Patel had told Kamikami that the clock was a gift from Motibhai & Company Limited to PFL to suppress the truth.

“I feel sure that the second accused deviated from the rules which required him to declare his interest when he authorized the purchase of the clock from Motibhai & Company Limited.”

Justice Goundar said that he felt that the second accused was motivated by corporate greed to increase his personal greed to increase his personal wealth by authorizing the purchase of the clock from Motibhai & Company Limited.

He added that he felt sure that Patel personally gained from t he transaction between PFL and Motibhai & Company and that Patel put the interests of PFL at a disadvantage.

The defence was then asked to deliver their mitigation.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Goundar is expected to sentence Patel and Mau tomorrow but it was reported late this afternoon by Fiji Village that Mau's lawyer was seeking a retrial and for the Learned Judge to recuse himself.


mark manning said...

Not very learned in my opinion !
If the Manual wasn't even approved by the Ministry of Public Enterprises or Board of Directors, why should it be considered as evidence, let alone part of the Purchase Procedures ?

Tui Viti said...

Now Hear This..........Justice Daniel Goundar is a puppet. All his judgements and rulings are written by none other then ex judge - Nazhat Shameem...........This is a common knowledge amongst the legal fraternity in Fiji.

Anonymous said...

I am sure his judgment will be written by the illegal CJ Gates, with input from the Shameem sisters, and the illegal dick-head A-G wanna bee brainless

mark manning said...

How old is Goundar ? 13 !
What are his qualifications and where does he come from originally and how did he get into this position of Authority ?

gounder the goose said...

As a military regime appointed high court judge I wouldn't let this goose clean my toilet.

Anonymous said...

Press statement? More like a summary of a judgement written by a no brainer.

Anonymous said...

Goundar is from Labasa. His first name is Dhana but he anglocised it to Daniel after converting to Christianity. His dad was a devout Hindu and after his mother left him, the poor guy hung himself.
Goundar is in his late 30s. Studied in NZ. Always hung out with white boys.
Is a stooge of the IG. Is constantly mentored by Nazhat Shameem - who also mentored Aiyaz at DPP' s office in the early 1990s.
Owns a block of flats in Nailuva Road but does not declare income from it to IRD.
Wife teaches at Suva Sangam.
Lives at Raisara Road.
Has Austrealian PR.

mark manning said...

@ gounder the goose.
I on the other hand, would !

Anonymous said...

Goundar's Address please.
A.S.K. as well.

iTaukei said...

time is coming that the past big fish are trapped in the net and the poor people are cheering..hooorayy!!!!!

Anonymous said...

daniel kandu have put mau/patel behind bars today.
i hope he can do the same to his boss ag taliban/bai.
he wont bec he is a kandu and self serving idiot.
next he will put qarase/mahen behind bars.mark my word.

Anonymous said...

Yes, everyone know that Daniel the judge is Nazaht's petboy. He is being groomed to take over from illegal CJ Gates. He is mediocre with a capital "M", hence an opportunist, always on the lookout to climb the ladder no matter the cost. He'd never get the same opportunity to grace the benches if he had taken up his Aust PR, wud he? Pathetic.

Anonymous said...

He does look young for a judge, perhaps the reason why Shameem is his servant. Hang on, Semi Meo might be a good servant, NOT!!!

The Oracle said...

Sounds like a judgement based on personal opinion rather than hard facts.
A judgement fraught with contradictions, especially in references to Mac Patel. To accuse one of being motivated by greed, one has to provide the evidence. It's not proper for a Judge to assume things - he needs to rule on the facts before him. On one hand he finds Adishwar Naidu a credible witness - on the other he has questions about Naidu's credibility.
The beauty about Fiji's current court system right now for Gounder is the fact that a Judge can make a ruling and expect not to be challenged - at least not for a long time as any appeal will likely be adjourned continuously at great cost to the plaintiff and to the government coffers.
While it's not uncommon for Judges to overturn a verdict from assessors, this usually happens when there is clear evidence that there has been a miscarriage of justice. Judge Gounder, however, needed a night to ponder on this and then come back to tell the assessors their opinions didn't matter at all. If the assessors failed in returning an "expected" verdict, then Judge Gounder failed to properly direct them in his summing up. That's not an opinion - it's a statement of fact based on what has transpired. Whether Patel and Mau deserve to be convicted is not the issue - the decline of our judiciary and the incompetence of our Judges and their apparent lack of impartiality is a sad reflection on how far we've come and where we're going --- from the gutter into the cesspool.
Imagine - after all the hype, the two get nine months in gaol and Judge Gounder rules against an application to appeal - ensuring the two go straight to goal!!!! Given overcrowding in our prisons, wouldn't a suspended sentence have been the more likely route to take?
Sounds like a case of "Must Convict and Jail to stamp my authority and send a clear message".

Judge said...

No two ways about this judge is a mere puppet. He would not be there if it was not for the coup.

Anonymous said...

Goundar is a puppet full stop and Shameem's boy. Knows nothing and is reponsible for putting innocent persons in jail. Kawaca. This on and Aiarse need to be in the same cell in Naboro with Gates and Shameem.

Anonymous said...

daniel time will come for your fall like other corrupt judges and lawyers.
ag taliban/bai.
peoples power than you will end up in jail too like these people
like the good lord said what you do to others will be done onto you.gods promise words..

Anonymous said...

daniel time will come for your fall like other corrupt judges and lawyers.
ag taliban/bai.
peoples power than you will end up in jail too like these people
like the good lord said what you do to others will be done onto you.gods promise words..

Anonymous said...

What's the point of having a jury when the judge has already made up his mind? This is similar to the current chief justice's pre-empted decision on the Qaranivalu a few years ago. A judge and jury at the same time? Shocking! But what can one say when the judge takes his que from an illegal AG and an illegal regime. I wonder if Danny boy's PR status in aussie has been revoked? Check it out please aussie residents !

mark manning said...

@ anon 845 a.m.
Vinaka for that information.
Perhaps you should contact the Australian Prime Minister and Immigration to have his P.R. revoked before he becomes a Citizen !
That will teach him a lesson.

Anonymous said...

So what happens to Fiji Times now in light of all this?

sara'ssista said...

perhaps he needs to take closer look at what happened to others taking 'illegal oaths'. Does he seem to think there will be no consequence?

Anonymous said...



Emosi said...

how come these guys get 9 and 12 months but that civil servant who was directing money to NZ got a nights and weekends off plan?.

the one who diverted more than FJ$120k i believe it was.

i got the article here somewhere but i'm sure everyone knows who i'm talking about.

Anonymous said...

Question is..how could an illegal judge be allowed to pass a sentence when he himself got there under dubious circumstances??..Ficac should now start investigating all those judges..shameem sisters and their Taliban cousin Aiyaz kickback Khaiyum and Bainivuaka and the likes..or the law only applies to the some with the exception of the ruling class..what a joke and I loath them all as if 2006 was yesterday..

a.rogo said...

every body will be judged by their actions...every body seemed to be focussed on negative thoughts and criticisum...thats wat he is paid for to do to judge those corrupt practices in the govt we elected into power...they are hell bent on corrupt practices...following the steps of their superiors...god bless fiji as more to come

Anonymous said...

I eagerly await Laisenia Qarase's trial. Although he is the elected PM, he should answere for the corrupt practices he is accused for. Let the court put Qarase through the mill

Tui Viti said...

@ Anon 2011 8:45 AM.......Wow if DG lives in Raisara then mentor Shameem lives across the road in Albert Lee Place, a stones throw away.........how long did these people think they could get away with these charade??

Mosi vei au said...

Luv U Emosi

Mosita said...

lai moce emosi

Anonymous said...

i think the australian govt MUST be presurred to revoke his PR.

Goverment of Hypocrisy.. said...

@ Anon 8:19.

Dream on - if they've taken no action whatsoever against their own citizens who contunually & openly support this regime - what makes you believe they'll act against a foreign PR who's more than likely a member of their own legal Bar?

Mao said...

@ The Oracle

Very true. I was thinking along the same lines. Any judgement must clearly, be the direct result of only the evidence that is presented in court. No matter how strongly we feel that an accused is guilty, if evidence against him/her was not presented in court, then the judge cannot/must not consider it at all and not even allude to it out of the blue in his judgement.

To top it off, his utterances were of his own personal opinion which has obviously clouded his judgement and resulted in what I deem as a grave miscarriage of justice.

Both the accused may have done what they are accused of doing - I don't know - but the statements made by Goundar as part of his judgement clearly indicate how superficial his understanding of the law is! And that is very frightening when judges who determine the course of our lives when we appear before them, display such flawed and biased processes in arriving at their decisions.

The other issue that caught my attention was the simple language used by Goundar. Simple is good, but a certain level way above simple is expected of bearers of certain offices - a Judge most certainly included! Judges should be, by the time they get where they are, masters of the English language. I venture to say that Goundars simple language is a direct indication of his overall simplicity and unsuitability for the job. I have never failed to be awed by the mastery displayed by real, vintage and vastly experienced lawyers and judges.

But then we live in Fiji in extraordinary times.................I feel like I am in a circus where the animals are paying to see us humans at our ridiculous and stupid best!

Tui Viti said...

@ Mao......animal farm now playing around Fiji. Starring Voreqe Bainimarama. Directed by Aye Arse Khaiyum....

Anonymous said...

justice gandu was a junior lawyer in the dpp office and often told off my the then magistrate and now justice salesi temo for not doing his homework properly before court proceedings...he was only promoted due to his relations with GANDU GATES and Shameem... What a shame

mark manning said...

Goundar looks like he is still wet behind the ears.
How can someone so young be a Judge ?

Anonymous said...

Hey Viti;

Shameem sisters need plenty real kaiviti - tavioka yarr.
they are corrupt selfish people.

Very crooked people.
moce jo

Anonymous said...

Listen to what that Aiyaz said this afternoon on national radio..young lawyers to respect senior lawyers..oh what crap..rubbish..He might be referring to him wanting all the respect..sorry Aiyaz but no one really respects you cause you are an example of a lawyer that has gone haywire..You can hide behind your bodyguards but when the time comes I for one will spit on your face ..you low level con dirty scum..

Anonymous said...

My question is..who is this guy..like he just sprung up from no where..sneaky..and those sri lankan judges..what are they doing here..surely they could have purchased their credentials online..Everything this illegal government does is questionable as it reeks of corruption..obviously..and who are we to be fooled..These people need to be investigated and put behind bars..all of them..I think what Patel and Mau did was just minor but these people have committed a more serious crime and it goes more serious by everyday..Question is..Do they have a concience??..Or do they ever sit down and take a long hard look at themselves in the mirror..or has greed for power taken over all faculties of the mind that they will do anything to hold on to their positions..Conclusion is the clean up campaign that was the main excuse for the 2006 coup is a sham and it gets more obvious every year..

Anonymous said...

Fiji just look at your GDP since 2006. Wake up brothers and sisters. Do something today about it.

Anonymous said...

What a shame-justice Gates is a paedophile..didnt you know that..Thats how Gounder got there..he sucked his way up..as for Gates..please dont sit up the judges seat cause you have brought shame to this beautiful country..

Anonymous said...

Tui viti, this is more like Big Brother from 1984 novel. Everyone is watching each other. End of progress. Also whats with Fiji times online? Has been down for hrs from overseas. Is it same in Fiji?