3 Aug 2005

Defence lawyers ask Fiji High Court to throw out coup related case

10:31 am on 3 August 2005

Defence lawyers for Fiji's transport minister, Simione Kaitani, and three others facing serious coup related charges have told the Suva High Court they have no case to answer.

Kaitani, Lepani Tonitonivavua, Eroni Lewaqi and Viliame Sausauwai have been charged with taking illegal oaths to join George Speight's failed administration as ministers during the coup.

The oaths were administered by the convicted former vice president, Ratu Jope Seniloli, who had usurped the presidency during the coup.

Tonitonivanua, Lewaqai and Sausauwai admitted in their police statements that they had taken oaths to join Speight's administration.

But lawyers for the four accused, Iqbal Kahn and Rabo Matebalavu, have told the court there is insufficient evidence to proceed with the trial.

The lawyers said the prosecution had produced no evidence directly sighting Kaitani and the other three accused being sworn in.

Justice Anthony Gates will rule on the submission tomorrow.