16 Aug 2006

Fiji judge says Rabuka incitement trial will go ahead as planned

10:14 am on 16 August 2006

The Suva High Court has ruled that the trial of the former Fiji prime minister, Sitiveni Rabuka, on a charge of inciting mutiny must proceed on November the 6th.

Radio Legend reports that this follows submissions by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions that they have not yet secured the services of the Australian Queens counsel they wanted to prosecute the case, Mark Tedeski.

Mr Tedeski previously prosecuted the former Deputy Speaker of Fiji's House of Representatives, Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure, who was jailed for six years after being convicted of taking an illegal oath to commit a capital offence during the coup.

High Court judge Justice Gerard Winter has ruled that the DPP's Office must assign someone to prosecute the Rabuka case because the trial must begin in November.

Justice Winter has set a date early next month to hear pre-trial matters and has ordered that Rabuka be present that day.

Rabuka has been charged with inciting Lt Col Viliame Seruvakula to commit mutiny by overthrowing the military commander, Commodore Bainimarama.

Rabuka is alleged to have done this on two occasions - first in July 2000 and then in November that year.