18 Nov 2004

Fiji's Takiveikata allegedly used chiefly title to incite mutiny

4:17 pm on 18 November 2004

The Suva High Court has been told that Fiji government senator, Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, used his chiefly position to incite the November 2000 mutiny, which claimed eight lives.

Radio Fiji reports that this was part of the closing submission by the state prosecutor, Daniel Howard.

Mr Howard summarised the evidence given by the state's key witnesses, three of whom were closely connected with the mutiny.

They were the jailed leader of the mutineers, Captain Shane Stevens, and two civilians, Metuisela Turagacati and Jale Kadi, who helped in planning the mutiny but agreed to give evidence for the prosecution in return for immunity from prosecution.

All three testified that Takiveikata ordered the mutiny because he was angered at the way loyal soldiers had treated George Speight's rebels when they were evicted from a school managed by Takiveikata.

Mr Howard said the evidence of all three gave details of Takiveikata's close involvement in the mutiny.

He said only a high chief could have used his power to give instructions to Captain Stevens to stage the mutiny and gather hundreds of civilians to support it.

Mr Howard said the others were only foot soldiers who were there to help powerful people achieve their plans.

If found guilty, Takiveikata faces life in prison.