6 Sep 2005

Fiji DPP appeals acquittal of group of thirteen on charges of illegal assembly

10:13 am on 6 September 2005

Fiji's director of public prosecutions has appealed against the acquittal of government senator Mohammed Apisai Tora and 12 others on a charge of illegal assembly at the height of the coup.

The charge related to the seizure by the 13 men of a military checkpoint at Sabeto near Nadi International Airport during the coup and setting up a roadblock.

The Fiji Times reports that following the DPP's appeal, they appeared before Justice John Connors of the Lautoka High Court yesterday.

Nadi magistrate Sayed Mukhtar Shah acquitted the men late last year due to what he said were inconsistencies in police statements and failure by the police to inform the accused of the Bill of Rights when interviewing them.

After the DPP's submissions, Justice Connors said one option was to revoke the acquittal order and refer the matter back to the magistrate's court.

He will deliver his ruling in Lautoka High Court on September the 19th.