27 Apr 2005

Five more Fiji men guilty on coup related charges

2:17 pm on 27 April 2005

Another five Fiji coup supporters have been found guilty by the Suva magistrate's court.

They are a former army lawyer, Tevita Bukarau; the former director of the Fiji Intelligence Service, Col Metuisela Mua; businessman Jioji Bakoso, Viliame Sausauwai and Eroni Lewaqai.

All five have been found guilty on two charges of unlawful assembly and one charge of consorting with people carrying firearms in parliament during the coup.

Magistrate Ajmal Khan said the prosecution had proved beyond reasonable doubt that all the accused were in parliament during the 56 days of hostage taking and were seen attending meetings with George Speight.

Mr Khan said all five were seen with rebel soldiers carrying firearms and had free access to security areas controlled by the rebels.

He said although the arms were returned to the military after the coup, it did not legalise the actions of the accused who knew what they were doing.

Mr Khan said the five were present throughout the period the rebels were in parliament, took part in their activities and later went with them to the Kalabo Primary Schools when the rebels vacated parliament.

The magistrate has given defence lawyers until May the 2nd for mitigation before he hands down sentence.