Defense Claims Solo Mara has been harassed by FICAC – FBC...

Former diplomat Solo Mara’s lawyer claims that the action by FICAC officials on January 24 this year was illegal.

Attorney Devanesh Sharma put this forward when he failed to petition Suva Magistrates Court to respond to the petition this morning.

Mara is accused of a count of disobedience to the lawful order and of providing false or misleading information.

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Sharma argued that there was no opposition to the search warrant that FICAC officials carried out on his premises on January 23 and 24. However, the warrant is limited to searches and seizures and does not allow FICAC to interrogate any person.

During the hearing, it became known that one of the search warrants had been carried out that evening and Sharma argues that FICAC law does not allow it to do so unless the court clears it.

Sharma says his client was harassed and illegally detained for three days for a non-criminal act and that FICAC officials did not respect his rights.

During the execution of the search warrant, Mara contacted a lawyer and refused to provide the password for his personal email account. She was arrested for allegedly violating a lawful order.

Sharma argued today that FICAC cannot force a person to reveal their password if a suspect wants to remain silent.

He also alleged that FICAC used underhand tactics but did not provide evidence that Mara actually gave investigators a password written on a diary page.

A FICAC witness testified this week that Mara gave them a password, but her forensics team later found out that it had been changed two months earlier.

Sharma went on to say that there is no evidence that Mara gave an incorrect password or that it was changed.

FICAC replied that there was no evidence Mara ever sought legal advice from a lawyer while his home was being searched.

He also said that the right to remain silent is given to a defendant in order for a person to be charged and produced in court, and that there is silence about the investigation.

The court will rule on the non-response to the filing on November 25th.


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