23 Jun 2005

Fiji's former deputy prosecutor says pending coup cases could be threatened by his departure

10:15 am on 23 June 2005

Fiji's former deputy director of public prosecutions, Peter Ridgway, says his enforced departure could seriously affect pending coup related cases.

The Fiji Sun says Mr Ridgway has warned the country could face the danger of further coups if questions surrounding the 1987 and 2000 coups are not resolved.

He says the state has yet to make any submission to the High Court on the appeal by treason convicts Josefa Nata and Timoci Silatolu against their conviction, even though it should have been lodged two weeks ago.

Mr Ridgway says "there is nobody in the DPP's Office who has the knowledge of coup cases" that he does because he "had an instrumental role in each and every coup case in the last four years."

He says anyone new coming in now would need to dedicate themselves for months to read up a mountain of material, to absorb it, make sense of it and remember the relationship between people and events and time.

Mr Ridgway says despite the success of the DPP's Office in winning convictions against key figures in the 2000 coup, there was never any appreciation or congratulatory message from the attorney general, Qoriniasi Bale.

He says the attorney general had even lashed out over a television interview he gave criticising the release of coup convict Viliame Savu under a Compulsory Supervision Order.

Mr Ridgway has also criticised the Reconciliation and Unity Bill, saying it is more about bringing amnesty to the coup perpetrators while promoting little about reconciliation.