25 Jul 2003

Coup-related court case continues in Fiji

10:12 am on 25 July 2003

The lawyer for a Fiji cabinet minister has applied to have serious coup-related charges against his client struck out.

Davnesh Sharma says the charges againsr sports minister, Isireli Leweniqila are an abuse of process because they have been brought three years after the offence took place.

Mr Leweniqila is facing a charge of taking an illegal oath to commit a capital offence and another of engaging in a seditious enterprise.

The same charges have been laid against Fiji's vice president, Ratu Jope Seniloli, the deputy speaker of parliament, Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure, and three others.

They relate to the accused being sworn into George Speight's failed administration on the day after the May 2000 coup.

Mr Sharma and the other defence lawyers have agreed to file a joint application to have the charges against their clients struck out.

But state prosecutors want the case heard before the High Court.

The case has been adjourned to August 21st.