The News Agency of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness

Fijian Judge Issues Devotee Two Year Sentence

By: for The Fiji Times on Sept. 10, 2007

A HINDU priest was yesterday jailed for two years after being found guilty of receiving stolen property by the Lautoka court.

Navin Kant, a priest at the Hare Krishna Temple in Lautoka, was initially charged with five counts of receiving stolen property.

Kant had pleaded not guilty to all counts.

Over the course of the trial between June 1 and 21 August of this year, prosecution withdrew three counts as the complainants had travelled abroad.

However, prosecution proceeded with two counts where Kant allegedly received a camera valued at $1200 that was stolen from the residence of former High Court judge, Justice John Connors.

On the second count, Kant allegedly received an IBM laptop computer valued at $5000 that was stolen from the residence of a Sada Siwan of Lautoka.

Kant allegedly received the items between June 19 and September 19, 2004.

Magistrate Mohammed Shafiullah Khan dismissed Kant of the second count saying there was no evidence confirming he had received the stolen computer.

Mr Khan said when police officers raided the Hare Krishna Temple on October 19 in 2004; they only discovered the camera in his possession.

He said the laptop computer was recovered from another room belonging to followers.

Even though he was convicted of only one count, Mr Khan said the charge was very serious.

Mr Khan said the offence had a huge connection with the prevalent home invasions that have now become very alarming.

Mr Khan said Kant held a senior position at the temple and he had to accept full responsibility for betraying that trust.

He said Kant should have known better and would have realised the consequences of his actions.

He sentenced him to two years and gave him 28 days to appeal.

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