16 Aug 2005

Acquitted Fiji minister says he's 'learnt his lesson'

8:36 am on 16 August 2005

Fiji's transport minister Simione Kaitani, who has been acquitted on a serious coup related charge, says he's learnt his lesson and will be very careful in future.

Mr Kaitani made the comment to Fiji TV soon after his acquittal on a charge of taking an illegal oath to join George Speight's rebel administration during the coup.

He said he had no problems with the fact that he's a nationalist.

But, he said, that during the High Court trial he'd learnt that the law was blind and that it didn't see one's nationalism or one's religion.

Early last year, Mr Kaitani admitted on a Fiji TV current affairs programme, CLOSE UP, that he had committed treason during the coup.

Now, he says, he'll concentrate on his cabinet responsibilities.

Apart from land transport, these include shipping and civil aviation.

The prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, said he was delighted with Mr Kaitani's acquittal yesterday.