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Judicial CP - March 2002

Radio New Zealand International, Wellington, 22 March 2002 (transcribed by BBC Monitoring)

Fiji High Court outlaws corporal punishment

Text of report by Radio New Zealand International on 22 March

Corporal punishment has been banned in prisons and schools in Fiji by order of the Lautoka High Court. Justice Jayant Prakash has ruled corporal punishment in Fiji Criminal Procedure Code to be in breach of the constitution and unlawful. The ruling was made after a [word indistinct] man who was jailed for five years and ordered to receive six strokes of the birch for the sexual abuse of his six-year-old appealed against the sentence.

His lawyer said corporal punishment was outdated because it was abolished in England in 1967. As well he said it was torture because according to the constitution it was cruel, inhumane and degrading or disproportionately severe punishment. The Fiji Human Rights Commission made similar submissions in writing to the High Court.

Justice Prakash upheld the prison sentence but quashed the six strokes of the birch and in an response to a request by the Human Rights Commission he also ruled that corporal punishment in schools was unconstitutional and unlawful.

blob Follow-up: 3 April 2002 - Fiji teachers upset at corporal punishment ban

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