9 Dec 2002

Vanuatu prosecutor rejects allegations of interference

11:11 am on 9 December 2002

Vanuatu's public prosecutor is rejecting allegations of Australian influence in the recent police mutiny case.

Heather Leo Lini says she first approached lawyers in Vanuatu to see if they would take on the case but none of them would.

She says the lawyers feared for their lives because of the unrest in the police force at the time.

Ms Lini says the lawyer was brought in from overseas for professional reasons:

"These politicians don't really undersstand the legal profession , for example for them they can just stand up and make decision on behalf of their very close friends but that is not the role of the legal profession where everyone has to be independent and where conflict of interest comes in and usually the decision to get people from overseas comes in when there is this conflict if interest."

Four of the police force's most senior officers were last week given two year suspended terms for mutiny, inciting mutiny, kidnapping and false imprisonment.