6 Feb 2003

Fiji' politicians and NGOs seek review of the country's prosecutions office

10:06 am on 6 February 2003

Political parties and NGOs in Fiji have expressed shock over the acquittal of nine villagers charged with terrorising and robbing Indian farmers during the height of the racial violence after the May 2000 coup.

The magistrate, Amani Rokotinaviti, said there was insufficient evidence for a conviction and criticised the police and state prosecutors.

The Fiji Times reports there are now strong calls for an urgent review of the office of the director of public prosecutions if serious crimes are to be prosecuted successfully.

The opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, says if prosecutors are doing their best, then it has to be part of a larger conspiracy of letting all wrongdoers go and keeing them at large until the need for their intimidation and law breaking services are needed again.

Mr Beddoes says nothing will change unless those in authority decide to get serious about crime.

A Labour Party MP, Sanjeet Maharaj, says there seems to be a conspiracy between police officers involved in the coup and rebels.

Mr Maharaj says such a judgement is not helping restore any confidence in the justice system when the victims of those crimes fled for their lives after being attacked by those acquitted.

The Citizens Constitutional Forum says Fiji would not be able to move forward if the perpetrators of racial violence are allowed to remain at large.