12 Feb 2005

Fiji High Court sets date for biggest damage claim case

8:42 am on 12 February 2005

The Fiji High Court judge, Justice Gerard Winters, has set aside two months from the middle of June to hear the country's biggest ever damages claim arising out of the coup.

37 members of the Labour coalition government deposed during the coup are claiming a total of US$33 million in damages.

The defendants named in their law suit are the military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, the-then police commissioner Colonel Isikia Savua, the state in the form of the attorney general.

Also named as defendants are the coup front man, George Speight, his fellow treason convict, Timoci Silatolu, and the leader of their gunmen and former British SAS officer, Ilisoni Ligairi.

The plaintiffs' lawyer, Wendall Archibald, told the High Court the US$33 million would never be enough to compensate the deposed government members for the torture, trauma and suffering he says they underwent during their 56 days of captivity at gunpoint.

A part of the claim cites negligence by the police and the military to provide adequate security for the coalition government.

The case begins on June 17th.