5 May 2005

Most recent Fiji coup convicts all jailed

8:48 pm on 5 May 2005

The five people most recently convicted of coup related offences in Fiji have all been jailed.

They are a former army lawyer, Major Tevita Bukarau, the former director of the Fiji Intelligence Service, Col Metuisela Mua, Eroni Lewaqai, Viliame Sausauwai and businessman, Jioji Bakoso.

Last week all five were found guilty on two charges of unlawful assembly and one charge of consorting with people carrying firearms during the coup.

Radio Legend reports that Suva magistrate, Ajmal Khan, jailed Bukarau, Mua and Lewaqai for two and a half years each, Sausauwai for 2 years and Bakoso for 15 months.

They had faced a maximum of two years on the charge of unlawful assembly and four years for consorting with people carrying firearms.

But, Mr Khan said he had taken into account their years of service and reduced their sentences.

He said they had all held positions of power and influence and could have advised people involved in the coup that what they were doing was not right.

Instead, they incited people, helped George Speight, and were present in parliament throughout the 56 days of the hostage taking.

Magistrate Khan said for this reason custodial sentences were necessary to act as a deterrent in the future.

He refused a bail application by defence lawyers