15 Aug 2005

Fiji transport minister acquitted in coup case

4:46 pm on 15 August 2005

Fiji's transport minister, Simione Kaitani, has walked a free man from the Suva High Court today after Justice Anthony Gates found him not guilty of a serious coup related crime.

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

The five assessors in the case had found all four not guilty when they delivered their opinion last Friday.

Justice Gates upheld the opinion of the assessors, saying that the prosecution had not presented sufficient evidence to convict the accused.