18 Feb 2009

Fiji High Court orders a mistrial into Rabaka case

10:48 am on 18 February 2009

In Fiji, a mistrial has been ordered in the court case involving eight soldiers and a policeman who allegedly killed Nadi youth Sakiusa Rabaka following the December 2006 coup.

The group were jointly charged with one count of murder and four counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

It was alleged that the accused were involved in a joint police and military operation on January 28, 2007 in Nadi.

The deceased and the complainants were allegedly taken to a military training location in Votualevu where they were assaulted.

Mr Rabaka died a few days later from the injuries he allegedly sustained during his arrest.

But in yesterday's ruling, High Court judge Justice Daniel Goundar, said he was concerned about the "deliberate conduct of the prosecution to lead evidence of uncharged acts, without giving any notice to the defence to object to the evidence, and knowing that the evidence is highly prejudicial to the accused persons.

Fiji Live online says a new trial will now commence with a panel of fresh assessors at a date yet to be set.