Niue High Court dismisses ‘in its entirety NISCGA’s case against BCN and two former Executive Members

Niue High Court dismisses NISCGA application days before its AGM scheduled for tomorrow Good Friday at 9am

The decision handed down by Judge Reeves of the Niue High Court stated the application by the national sports organization Niue Island Sports and Commonwealth Games Association (NISCGA) against the national Broadcaster BCN and two former Executive Members of NISCGA Hagen Siosikefu and Cristabella Kaukasi-Talagi ‘is dismissed in its entirety’.

According to the decision by Judge Reeves dated April 3rd, 2023, the application failed for the following reasons;

“The Applicant submitted that BCN had natural justice obligations in relation to its decision to publish the information concerning the NISCGA’s financial affairs and other disputes. However, the Applicant has completely failed to set out any basis upon which the Court could consider this proposition”

“The legislative provisions relied on are irrelevant to the issue that the Applicant has put before the Court. Neither provision provides ground nor basis for any cause of action on which the applicant might reply to support its assertion that BCN has acted contrary to natural justice”

“The applicant appears to have confused their own obligations as a decision-maker to act fairly and with due process, as recently found by the High Court, (in relation to the case between NISCGA and the Niue Lawn Bowls), with the role of the news media to inform, educate, or entertain the public in relation to matters of public interest.”

In May 2022, NISCGA filed an application asking the court to direct BCN to remove all articles in relation to NISCGA and to cease broadcasting the financial affairs of NISCGA and for all three respondents to remove the social media posts concerning the financial affairs of NISCGA. 

The application was called before Chief Justice Coxhead in July 2022 and was adjourned to the October 2022 sitting and heard before Judge Sarah Reeves.

NISCGA was represented in court by its president Maru Talagi.

In their application, NISCGA also asked the Niue High Court to direct BCN and two other respondents to make a public apology to the NISCGA Executive Committee namely Maru Talagi as President, Tony Edwards Senior Vice President, and Sidney Lui – Vice President and Sports Adminstration Officer of NISCGA. 

The Court’s decision said it was a matter of concern that while the applicant NISCGA made a number of serious allegations concerning the other two respondents Hagen Siosikefu and Christabelle Kaukasi Talagi the grounds pleaded did not disclose any cause of action to support those allegations. 

In response to the Court’s decision Cristabella Kaukasi Talagi said that she is glad this is over because the allegations laid against her at a time when she was undergoing health treatment in NZ was a very trying time for her and her family, so she is happy with the Court’s decision. 

Hagen Siosikefu said that he is happy with the outcome but he has mixed feelings. “I am rather sad because the decision of the courts just further proves the truth of what we have been fighting for; and that the current NISCGA administration has been behaving badly and are doing the sports on Niue a lot of harm both locally and globally,” said Hagen.

“The allegations and slander they made against us in this case and throughout 2023 are very serious and it did cause us a lot of harm”, said Hagen Siosikefu.

The Broadcasting Corporation was represented in this matter by the government’s Solicitor General Justin Kamupala. 

The court has reserved the issue of costs and given the respondents 10 days to file for costs.

Attempts to reach Maru Talagi and Sidney Lui for comments were unsuccessful, but Tony Edwards is prepared to speak to BCN News tomorrow at the NISCGA Annual general meeting. 

NISCGA will be holding its Annual General Meeting tomorrow on Good Friday the 7th of April. 

The meeting is scheduled to take place in the morning at 9 AM located at the Pacific Way Bar in Amanau, Alofi. 

According to NISCGA Vice President Tony Edwards, a total of 13 nominations for all executive positions were submitted by the deadline of 22nd March last week.

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