4 Nov 2004

Fiji state prosecutors to appeal acquittal of senator

8:45 pm on 4 November 2004

State prosecutors in Fiji say the acquittal of a government senator on coup related charges is seriously flawed and they will appeal the decision.

The Nadi magistrate's court has acquitted Senator Mohammed Apisai Tora and 12 villagers, who were charged with illegal assembly in a case which has been goIng on for three years.

The charge was in relation to an event during which Mr Tora and the others seized a military checkpoint near Nadi Airport.

The deputy director of public prosecutions, Peter Ridgeway says the decision is fundamentally wrong.

""We think it's misconceived. What I've seen of the magistrate's reasoning so far strongly suggests to me that he's very much on the wrong track. He's misapplied the law. That judgement will be appealed and I'm in the process of drafting the grounds of appeal now.""

Mr Ridgeway says the key grounds for appeal will be based on the view that the magistrate has misunderstood the law and applied it badly.