An upcoming case being prepared by the Public Prosecutors Office could entangle the Media Industry in Vanuatu.
One senior Daily Post officer is on various charges including perjury, false statements, fabricating evidence, conspiracy to defeat justice, deceiving witnesses and prostitution.
The charges apart from prostitution directly relate to the previous charges as laid against Vanuatu lawyer Dane Thornburgh and businesswoman Renee Jackson.
The criminal case CR 18-47195 could spell disaster especially with the ‘conspiracy to defeat justice’ charges laid against a Daily Post officer.
The offence of conspiring to obstruct or defeat the course of justice is committed when two or more persons put before the court evidence which they know to be false or state as true a fact which is not true without knowing whether it is true or not.
Daily Post involvement in publishing various articles in relation to this case would automatically put the Daily Post in the hot seat as the defendant is also an employee and his involvement with various articles will also be questioned in court.
A reliable source says the investigation has been completed and despite Daily Post claims that its officer was never arrested, there is confirmation that he was arrested but not in a way he was expecting the arrest to be but it is an arrest.
The DP Officer when first questioned by the Police said “I will only speak inside the courtroom” and prosecutors are preparing to meet him in court.
The conspiracy charges would open up questions to articles being published by the Daily Post and will question the attention brought to the case by media.
The personalized attacks by Daily Post against Indigenous Media Vanuatu who own Yumi Toktok Stret and against MAV can also be added as evidence to the conspiracy case.
For the media Industry in Vanuatu, this could be a complete disaster if the ‘conspiracy to defeat justice’ charges do hold up inside the courtroom as prosecutors will also want to prove that the DP officer influenced evidence presented by another witness involved in the case.
The Integrity of Media will hang in the balance in this case because if the ‘conspiracy to defeat justice’ goes through, then more DP employee’s and management will stand to face charges.
As the investigations have now been completed, the PI is expected on the 4th of April 2018.
Yumi Toktok Stret is following up closely on the case.