2 Oct 2002

Police officers in Vanuatu to stand trial in November

7:22 pm on 2 October 2002

Eight senior Vanuatu police officers charged with mutiny will go to trial in the Supreme Court on November 18th.

The charges stem from the illegal arrests of 15 public officials in August over the appointment of a new police commissioner.

The officers lawyer John Malcolm says at the plea hearing today(wed) the charges were trimmed back to four from the original 21.

These are mutiny, inciting mutiny, kidnapping and false imprisonment.

John Malcolm says the officers did not enter a plea on the mutiny charges. .

"hat happened was they entered not guilty pleas on the false imprisonment charge and the charge of kidnapping, ah, we entered no plea on the mutiny and inciting mutiny charges, and had an argument about whether the charges were sufficiently particularised for us to know what they were actually alleging"

John Malcolm.

He says the judge, Justice Coventry said the prosecution must provide particulars on the mutiny charges within 28 days.

On Tuesday, 18 officers, mostly of lower rank, who had also been charged over the incident, had the charges against them dropped.