24 May 2006

Fiji court discontinues trial of two of five coup convicts facing murder charges

9:45 am on 24 May 2006

The Suva High Court has discontinued the trial of two of the five coup convicts brought before it for murder and attempted murder at the height of the May 2000 crisis.

Justice Nazhat Shameen has agreed with the defence lawyer for former army major, Josefa Savua, and Peceli Vuniwa that they should not be charged again as part of a plea bargain arrangement with the coup front man, George Speight, during his treason trial.

The two men had been charged with the attempted murder of a Livai Toribau.

Peni Ragone, Jone Nawaqa and Beniame Taga as well as Vuniwa had been put on trial for the murder of police officer Filipe Seavula on the night Speight's rebels attacked the Fiji TV station.

Justice Shameem has ordered that the trial of Ragone, Nawaqa and Taga should continue.

She has ordered that the reasons for the discontinuation of the trial of Savua and Vuniwa not be made public until the trial of the three other accused is over.