6 Feb 2003

CCF head says Fiji government admits acquittal case was flawed

5:23 pm on 6 February 2003

The head of Fiji's Citizens Constitutional Forum says the government has admitted the acquittal of nine villagers allegedly involved in racial violence in the May 2000 coup hinged on insufficient evidence and needs to be re-investigated.

The Reverend Akuila Yabaki says the CCF supports the appeal by the Director of Public Prosecution against the ruling by the magistrate's court.

The Reverend Yabaki says for a case which took almost three years to come to court, the process in which the men were tried and acquitted, showed shortcomings in the efforts of both prosecutors and police.

"It's a very sensitive issue. Those people who were freed by the court for the moment or acquitted by the courts could well be the people who need to be reinvestigated and brought up again with stronger and more resilient evidence but the fact that the state has appealed it indicates they are sort of admitting that the case could be presented in a more effective manner."

Rev Akuila Yabaki