25 Nov 2004

Appeal against convicted Fiji mutiny organiser Takiveikata lodged today

2:08 pm on 25 November 2004

An appeal against the conviction and sentence of Fiji Senator Ratu Inoke Takiveikata is being lodged this afternoon.

Takiveikata was convicted of inciting and aiding the November 2000 mutiny during which eight people died and more than thirty were injured.

Justice Anthony Gates sentenced him to life in prison for inciting mutiny and 18 months for aiding in an act of mutiny.

Justice Gates had earlier overturned the verdicts of two assessors who had found Takiveikata not guilty of inciting mutiny.

Takiveikata's Australian barrister Gabriel Wendler says his client was shocked at the decision.

"He was very disappointed. There were five counts, he heard the assessors say not guilty nineteen times, and that's all reversed. He's now facing a life sentence. He's extremely disappointed and devastated by the outcome of it."

Mr Wendler says they have strong grounds for an appeal, five counts of which are related to the conviction, and three related to the sentence.

He says he expects the appeal should be heard in about March next year.