20 Sep 2010

Hope for fair trial as Fiji's Takiveikata faces mutiny charge

4:20 pm on 20 September 2010

An academic in New Zealand says he hopes Fiji's mutiny case against Naitisiri High Chief, Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, is fair and transparent.

A fresh trial has started for Takiveikata, who is charged with inciting the 2000 mutiny, which aimed to kill the military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

A number of state witnesses are due to give evidence this week, after a mistrial was declared last week by the Fiji High Court.

Dr Steven Ratuva, who lectures in Pacific Studies at Auckland University, says already there is some concern that the outcome of the trial could be prejudiced.

"Given the political situation, he may not get a fair trial, and there is the judiciary as well, which has come under a lot of political pressure in recent times. So the perception is there, that he may not get a fair trial given the circumstances."

Dr Steven Ratuva.

Takiveikata had been given a life sentence for the mutiny but in early 2007 the appeal court quashed the ruling and he was released from prison after serving 31 months.

Last March, Takiveikata was jailed again when he was given a seven year prison sentence for plotting to kill Commodore Bainimarama in late 2007.