18 Apr 2005

Fiji state prosecutors consider court action over chiefs' premature prison release

1:31 pm on 18 April 2005

State prosecutors in Fiji are considering court action to vent their anger over the early release of two high profile chiefs jailed for coup related offences.

The director of public prosecutions, Josaia Naigulevu, says his office wasn't consulted before the former lands minister, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu and the government senator Ratu Josefa Dimuri were released 11 days into their eight month jail term.

Lalabalabvu and Dimuri are serving their sentences extramurally after being jailed for their role in the Labasa army mutiny at the height of the 2000 coup.

Mr Naigulevu says he has written to the commissioner of prisons, Aisea Taoka, seeking a full explanation for their early release.

He says his office could initiate civil proceedings over the matter, depending on Mr Taoka's response.

"Subject to those explanations or information that may be forthcoming from the commissioner of prisons, we reserve the right to take other actions to ensure that the public interest is not diminished in any way, or compromised in any way."

Mr Naigulevu says the costs involved in bringing the two chiefs to trial were considerable.