5 Oct 2004

Representation problems force Fiji mutiny trial delay

8:29 am on 5 October 2004

The trial in Fiji of 58-soldiers charged with the takeover of Parliament on May 19th 2000 has been delayed owing to lack of legal representation.

The trial has been postponed to October 20th.

Military lawyers Anil Singh and Ana Rokomokoti told the general court martial sitting that the series of adjournments was bordering on justice denied.

But, the director of the Legal Aid Commission, Makereta Waqavonovono, says they have 21 pending application for assistance from soldiers, clients of other defence lawyers who can no longer afford to pay legal fees.

As help, military prosecution has offered to arrange for military officers to represent the soldiers.

The soldiers will be tried on joint charges of mutiny, unlawful detention and misprision of treason.