24 Nov 2004

Fiji senator sentenced to life over November 2000 mutiny

9:22 pm on 24 November 2004

The Fiji government senator convicted of inciting and aiding in the November 2000 mutiny has been sentenced to life in prison.

Radio Legend reports the Suva High Court judge Anthony Gates delivered the sentence on Ratu Inoke Takiveikata on Wednesday evening after it was delayed by an extensive power cut.

Justice Gates had earlier overturned the vedicts of two assessors who had found Takiveikata not guilty of inciting mutiny.

All five assessors had found Takiveikata not guilty of aiding soldiers in an act of mutiny.

He was sentenced to life for inciting mutiny and 18 months for aiding in an act of mutiny which resulted in eight deaths and more than 30 injuries.

Takiveikata is spending the night in Suva prison where jailed vice-president Ratu Jope Seniloli and the deputy speaker of parliament, Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure are also behind bars for taking illegal oaths to join George Speight's failed administration during the coup.

Takiveikata's Australian lawyer, Gabriel Wendler, said he was disappointed that Justice Gates overturned the verdicts of the assessors who had found his client not guilty.

Mr Wendler said he would immediately lodge an appeal and file papers to get Takiveikata released.