14 Oct 2004

Trial for Fiji senator facing coup related charges deferred till new Wednesday

8:45 pm on 14 October 2004

A Fiji government senator facing serious charges relating to the November 2000 army mutiny has had his trial adjourned till next Wednesday.

Radio Fiji reports that Justice Anthony Gates granted the adjournment to allow Ratu Inoke Takiveikata enough time to finalise a loan to pay his Australian defence counsel, Gabriel Wendeller.

But Justice Anthony Gates refused the senator's request to allow a two-week interruption of the trial once it commences.

The request was made to enable Mr Wendeller to commute back and forth between Suva and Sydney where he had other engagements.

Justice Gates ruled that once the trial begins, it will run to completion and if Mr Wendeller is not able to be present throughout, then Ratu Inoke must brief a local lawyer now.

Ratu Inoke, who is also the paramount chief of Naitasiri province, has been charged with conspiracy to incite mutiny, inciting mutiny and aiding soldiers in an act of mutiny.

The November 2000 mutiny, which was aimed at assassinating the military commander Commodore Bainimarama and freeing George Speight, resulted in eight deaths and more than 30 injuries.