31 Jul 2012

Verdict imminent in Fiji's Qarase case

1:01 pm on 31 July 2012

The closely watched trial of Fiji's ousted prime minister Laisenia Qarase draws to a close today with the judge due to give his verdict on the case this afternoon.

The 72-year-old leads one of the main political parties in Fiji, and a conviction could see him out of the running for elections promised for 2014.

Sally Round reports.

"The nine charges were brought by Fiji's Independent Commission Against Corruption, and go back to the early nineteen-nineties. After two hours of deliberation yesterday, three assessors found Mr Qarase guilty on six charges of abuse of office, and three charges relating to discharge of duty as a public servant, for property in which he had a private interest. But their decision is not binding on the court and may be overturned by Justice Priyantha Fernando who begins delivering his judgement at 2.30. The maximum sentence for abuse of office is three years jail."