$20,000 bail for Australian businessman
Fiji Sun, June 22, 2010
Written By : LUSIA BRENNANl.
An Australian businessman has been charged with obtaining money by false pretense and appeared at the High Court in Suva yesterday.
Graeme Hedge was finally released on a cash bail of $20,000 by Justice Sithambarampillai Thurairaja after the court found that there had been no strong objection to bail by the prosecution. Hedge was charged at the Magistrates Court and refused bail.
He is alleged to have falsely duped an Indian company, Dharampal Satyapal Limited, and defrauded them of F$400,000 by falsely pretending that he could supply sandalwood to India. Hedge allegedly committed the fraud through false advertisements on the internet.
While applying for bail, Hedge told the High Court he was not a flight risk, had no previous convictions, had considerable assets in Fiji and was willing to provide a suitable surety for the court. Hedge also said he had millions of dollars invested in Fiji and his wife and two children were all living in Fiji.
However, while responding to the bail application, the State produced an affidavit of Police Detective Sergeant Satish Chand who said Hedge was also being investigated in another case by police. Sgt Chand said Hedge’s claims of millions of dollars of investment in Fiji had not been supported by documentary evidence and should not be considered by the court.
State prosecutor Waline George also urged the court to consider the fact that the applicant could re-offend while on bail as he had previously used the internet as his medium.
Ms George said the interest of the public and the community should be considered as the amount of money involved was substantial. Justice Thurairaja, while ruling on the bail application, said while he was mindful of the serious nature of the charge, he was of the view that no strong opposition to bail has been submitted by the State. Hedge has been released on cash bail of $20,000 but on the condition that he produce three sureties worth $200,000 each and that his Australian passport be surrendered to court.
Justice Thurairaja also ordered that Hedge not travel out of Labasa without prior permission of the court and not leave Fiji until his case has been concluded.
Hedge has also been strongly warned by the High Court not to involve himself in any more similar businesses over the internet while the case is being dispensed with.
HeliPro Fiji choppers country manager Graeme Hedge refuses to update us on status of his 2010 charge of obtaining money by false pretenses. Red helicopters favourite mode of transport for Frank, Aiyaz & Co in Fiji