12 Jan 2007

Fiji prosecutor to appeal acquittal of former prime minister on mutiny incitement charges

7:43 am on 12 January 2007

Fiji's director of public prosecutions is to appeal the Suva High Court's decision to acquit the former prime minister, Sitiveni Rabuka, on two charges of inciting mutiny.

Mr Rabuka was charged with inciting Lt Col Viliame Seruvakula to remove the military commander, Commodore Bainimarama, in July and November of 2000.

Four of the five assessors had found Mr Rabuka guilty of the second charge while only two had found him guilty on the first charge.

But Justice Gerard Winter overturned the majority verdict and acquitted Mr Rabuka.

Justice Winter said the prosecution had failed to show beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Rabuka's actions were to incite the mutiny that took place at the military barracks in Suva on November 2nd.

The prosecution had earlier argued that Mr Rabuka attempted to incite mutiny to remove Commodore Bainimarama and seize control of the military for himself.

The DPP's office filed the application for its appeal against Justice Winter's ruling this week.

It is likely to be heard by the Fiji Court of Appeal in its November session.