21 Nov 2006

Fiji court declares mistrial in Rabuka case; fresh trial next week

3:24 pm on 21 November 2006

The Suva High Court has declared the trial of the former Fiji prime minister and 1987 coup leader, Sitiveni Rabuka, a mistrial.

And Justice Gerard Winter has ordered that a fresh trial begin on Monday.

His ruling followed submissions by both the defence and the prosecution.

Radio Legend reports that Justice Winter told the five assessors that the mistrial was not due to anyone's fault and discharged them after thanking them for their service.

He has ordered that new assessors be assembled for the fresh trial on Monday when all witnesses must also be present.

Justice Winter has also suspended the curfew imposed on Mr Rabuka but will re-impose it from Monday.

He has also ordered that all proceedings of the old trial should not be reported until the conclusion of the new one.

Sitiveni Rabuka is facing two charges of inciting an army mutiny to overthrow Commodore Bainimarama in July and November of 2000.