11 Nov 2002

Fiji soldier acquitted in mutiny assistance case

4:16 pm on 11 November 2002

A former Fiji soldier charged with aiding troops who carried out the November 2000 mutiny has been set free by the Suva magistrate's court.

Kanito Matanigasau was also charged with going armed in public with an M-16 assault rifle and being in possession of arms and ammunition without a licence.

But Suva magistrate Laise Laveti acquitted Matanigasau on all three counts.

She said there was a broken chain of events and discrepancies in the evidence.

Ms Laveti said one of the elements of the Penal Code was that the carrying of arms in public should be in a manner so a to cause terror.

She said this factor had not been established by the evidence and negated the prosecution case.

As well, she said none of the witnesses had been able to place Matanigasau at the scene of the mutiny at the time of the offence.