5 Mar 2003

Defence lawyer seeks delay to mutineers' trial

5:49 am on 5 March 2003

An attempt has been made in Fiji to adjourn the court martial of a second group of soldiers charged with the Suva army mutiny of November 2000 by more than six months.

Fiji TV reports that the lawyer for 15 of the 25 accused, Kelemedi Bulewa, made the attempt when the court martial resumed yesterday after a break of almost a month.

Mr Bulewa told the court that he wanted the trial adjourned till the first week of October because he would be overseas for medical treatment.

He said he had asked his clients to seek other counsel but they insisted that he represent them.

But the military prosecutor, Lt Col Mohammed Aziz, said the accused had been in custody for over two years and proceedings should begin urgently.

The president of the court martial adjourned the case until Friday when he said he would give an answer to Mr Bulewa.