19 Aug 2004

Bail application of jailed Fiji vice-president decided next week

3:33 pm on 19 August 2004

The Fiji Court of Appeal will give its ruling on jailed vice president Ratu Jope Seniloli's bail application on Monday.

The president of the Appeal Court, Justice Gordon Ward, heard oral submissions from lawyers representing Seniloli, fellow prisoner and deputy speaker of parliament Vakalalabure and three others in chambers today.

These were in addition to written submissions made yesterday.

The bail application seeks the release of the prisoners pending their appeal which will be heard by the November session of the Appeal Court.

An earlier report said that among reasons given by defence lawyers in seeking their release on bail was that this would enable Seniloli and Vakalalabure to continue in their high office.

All five were jailed two weeks ago - Seniloli for taking an illegal oath to become the usurper president and Vakalalabure and others for taking illegal oaths to become purported ministers in Speight's failed administration.

In their unsworn statements made during the trial, all the convicts claimed that they took the oaths as a joke or a charade to calm down George Speight and to protect the hostage prime minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, and other captives who were held at gunpoint.