22 May 2002

Charge in Fiji mutiny case to be changed

2:39 pm on 22 May 2002

Military prosecutors in Fiji have applied to drop a charge of attempted murder against the leader of the November 2000 army mutiny, Captain Shane Stevens.

Radio Fiji says the charge is in relation to the death of a loyalist soldier on the day of the mutiny which claimed eight lives.

But the radio station reports that Stevens' lawyer, Rabo Matebalavu, has objected to the withdrawal of the charges.

Instead, Mr Matebalavu says the court martial should acquit Stevens of the charge because all the evidence relating to the offence has been produced before.

14 soldiers from the disbanded Counter Revolutionary Warfare Unit are facing mutiny charges resulting from the attempt to assassinate the military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, and free the coup front man, George Speight.

The court martial will resume today with police officers giving evidence.