15 Jul 2004

Fiji's deputy speaker fails to win adjournment of his treason trial

10:31 am on 15 July 2004

The deputy Speaker of Fiji's parliament, Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure, has suffered a setback in attempts to have his treason trial adjourned.

Radio Fiji reports that Vakalalabure had gone to the Appeal Court in an attempt to reverse Justice Nazhat Shameem's earlier ruling not to grant him an adjournment to allow his lawyer time to prepare a good defence.

According to Vakalalabure's lawyer, Abhay Singh, the High Court breached his client's constitutional rights.

The Appeal Court was to hear Vakalalabure's appeal yesterday but moved it to November because it already has a full brief to hear this session.

Now Vakalalabure's treason trial will be completed well before the appeal is heard.

Along with vice president Seniloli, sports minister Isireli Leweniqila, and three others, Vakalalabure has been charged with taking an illegal oath to commit a capital offence for being sworn into George Speight's rebel administration.

The trail is currently adjourned but will resume on Monday.