18 Oct 2005

Former Fiji deputy speaker launches further appeal against coup conviction

11:20 am on 18 October 2005

Fiji's jailed former deputy speaker of parliament has taken his appeal against conviction and sentence to the Supreme Court.

Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure's earlier appeal in the Court of Appeal was rejected last year.

Vakalalabure is serving a six-year jail term for taking an illegal oath to commit a capital offence by being sworn in as the purported attorney general in George Speight's failed administration after the coup.

The Fiji Law Society disbarred him from practice for life for his role in the coup.

In his submission to the Supreme Court, Vakalalabure claims that there was a possibility of bias in his trial because one of the assessors and a defence lawyer had had a previous client-lawyer relationship.

He also claims he should have been charged with coup convicts George Speight and Timoci Silatolu, not with the jailed former vice president, Seniloli.

Vakalalabure is asking the Supreme Court to order a retrial.