Fiji's chief magistrate Usaia Ratuvili yesterday ruled in favour of Jagath Karunaratne's application for his bail to be reviewed. Just a day later, he has done a U-turn succumbing to challenge and pressure from the DPP.
Ratuvili (pictured right) ruled in the Suva Magistrates Court yesterday that Karunaratne's passport should be released to him so he can travel to Sri Lanka to attend to important family business, setting a $5000 cash bond and surety and a return date of July 20.
Coupfourpointfive police sources say in court today though, regime prosecutors continued to block the bail review, claiming Ratuvili erred in law in making the decision.
Fiji's Chief Magistrate has now suspended his own decision until the DPP gets an order from the High Court.
Karunaratne, a New Zealand citizen, is accused along with four others of writing anti-Bainimarama graffiti but the regime has been trying to also pin conspiracy against the government on him, despite not having enough evidence.
Sources say Ratuvili conceded to Christopher Pryde's prosecutors even though the state had yet to secure an order as its request was only verbal.
The proper procedure is for DPP to submit its motion as an application for the court to consider - Karunaratne's lawyer, Rajendra Chaudhry, then responds. Ratavuli chose instead to accept the verbal request and grant the regime's wish.
If the DPP fails to get an order from the High Court, Ratavuli will make his original ruling on Monday.
Coupfourpointfive understands two military officers were in court for the proceedings.
This is a case Fiji should be watching because it shows the regime is unafraid to interfere in decisions that have been handed down by judges it supposedly appointed on merit. And it is doing it openly, making an ass of the justice system and its judges.