24 Dec 2005

Bail for nine former Fiji soldiers awaiting court martial

7:29 am on 24 December 2005

The Suva High Court has granted bail to nine of the 20 former Fiji soldiers awaiting retrial on mutiny charges because of delays in their second court martial.

All the soldiers had been convicted by a court martial earlier, but five months ago, the High Court quashed their sentences on a legal technicality, and ordered that they should be retried.

Since then, their court martial has been aborted twice, because the ministry of home affairs has NOT acted, on the commissioning of the Suva lawyer, engaged by the military as judge advocate, Graham Leung.

The lawyer for the nine, Sevuloni Valenitabua, told the court his clients had been deprived of their constitutional rights because they'd been on remand for the last five years.

Justice Jiten Singh has released the soldiers on bail pending their retrial.

But Justice Singh has set strict bail conditions including reporting to a police station daily, being confined to their homes between six pm and six am, and not interfering with the 1-hundred witnesses.