30 Jan 2004

Arrest warrant issued for Fiji deputy speaker

7:49 am on 30 January 2004

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Fiji's deputy speaker of parliament after Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure failed to turn up in court yesterday.

The Fiji Times reports that Vakalalabure has been charged with assaulting a waiter at a Suva restaurant last November.

The case was first called on December 11th when Vakalalabure's plea was deferred because his lawyer, Kitione Vuetaki, was not present.

Vakalalabure also faces a charge of taking an illegal oath to commit a capital offence for being sworn into Speight's failed administration immediately after the coup.

This charge is equivalent to treason and now punishable by a maximum of life imprisonment.

This case, which also include Fiji's vice-president Ratu Jope Seniloli and the sports minister Isireli Leweniqila, will be called on February the 7th.