21 Jul 2004

Fiji court martial finds 21 soldiers guilty on mutiny

1:46 pm on 21 July 2004

The court martial of a second group of 21 Fiji soldiers charged with mutiny has found them all guilty.

The mutiny on November 2nd 2000 was aimed at assassinating the military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, and freeing the coup front man, George Speight.

Radio Legend reports while the court martial found them all guilty, it was forced to adjourn further proceedings.

The radio says a heated argument erupted between defence lawyer Vodo Tuberi and the court martial panel which was reluctant to adjourn the case.

Mr Tuberi argued that the court martial should have been concluded in May as defence counsel have obligations to other clients.

The judge advocate, Justice Sarvadanand Sadal, warned Mr Tuberi not to raise his voice before the court martial panel and that lawyers have a duty to see the court martial through while other legal matters wait.

The court martial president, Col Matareti Sarasau, adjourned the case till August the 2nd to give the lawyers time to prepare mitigation before sentencing.