20 Sep 2003

Senior Fiji politicians win delay of trial on coup-related charges

8:08 am on 20 September 2003

Fiji's vice president and other senior public figures charged with serious coup-related offences have sought a delay in court proceedings.

Ratu Jope Seniloli, the speaker of parliament, Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure, the sports minister, Isireli Leweniqila, and three others have been charged with taking an unlawful oath to commit a capital offence and another of engaging in a seditious enterprise.

The charges stem from Ratu Jope being sworn in as the usurper president immediately after the coup while the others were sworn in as ministers in George Speight's failed administration.

The Daily Post reports that one of their defence lawyers has sought a stay in proceedings while they seek overseas legal advice before filing defence papers.

Magistrate Eparama Rokoika granted the application and adjourned the case for two weeks.

Treason convicts Timoci Silatolu and Josefa Nata are already serving lengthy prison sentences related to the same offence.