1 Sep 2004

Fiji prosecutors end presentation in Labasa mutiny case

9:44 am on 1 September 2004

State prosecutors in Fiji have completed presenting their evidence in the case against the lands minister, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, for his involvement in the Labasa army mutiny during the May 2000 coup.

Ratu Naiqama is the leader of the pro-coup Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua party, which is the junior coalition partner of the ruling SDL government.

He has been charged with illegal assembly in connection with the Labasa mutiny along with the party secretary general and government senator, Ratu Josefa Dimuri, as well as two other Vanua Levu chiefs.

Radio Legend reports that the prosecutor, John Rabuku, closed the case after all 14 prosecution witnesses completed giving their evidence against the chiefs.

The mutiny was ordered by the leader of Speight's gunmen, Ilisoni Ligairi, from parliament as members of the Chaudhry government were held hostage at gunpoint.

The case will resume in the Labasa magistrate's court on September the 22nd.