7 Jun 2004

Fiji coup convict fails to have additional charges dropped

5:38 pm on 7 June 2004

The Suva High Court has dismissed an application by Fijian nationalist Viliame Savu to have serious coup-related charges against him quashed.

Savu has been charged with taking an illegal oath to commit a capital offence and with engaging in a seditious enterprise for purporting to be sworn in as a minister of George Speight's failed administration.

His lawyer, Seru Nagase, pleaded that Savu had already served 2 years for misprision of treason, which involved knowing about the coup in advance but failing to inform the authorities.

The lawyer said it was unjust for Savu to be tried again on a coup-related offence.

But Justice Nazhat Shameem rejected the application.

She said the fresh charges against Savu are new and different from the one for which he was imprisoned.

Savu is facing the same charge as Fiji's vice president, Ratu Jope Seniloli; the deputy speaker of parliament, Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure; the sports minister, Isireli Leweniqila, and two others.