14 Oct 2004

Fiji government senator renews bid to adjourn trial

7:05 am on 14 October 2004

A Fiji government senator facing serious mutiny related charges has made a fresh application to have his trial adjourned.

Radio Fiji reports that this time Ratu Inoke Takiveikata has asked the Suva High Court for an adjournment because he says his Australian lawyer, Gabriel Wendeller, will be available for only a week from next Monday

The accused had earlier applied for an adjournment so he could arrange a loan to pay Mr Wendeller before would agree to come to Fiji.

Radio Fiji says both Justice Anthony Gates and the prosecution want the trial completed once it commences and advised Senator Takiveikata to seek local legal help.

But his local lawyer, Apaitia Seru, told Justice Gates that his client is facing serious charges which carry a maximum of life in prison and wants an expert to handle his defence.

Mr Seru said the accused, who is also the paramount chief of Naitasiri, was not prepared to compromise his trial with a local layer.

Justice Gates will rule today whether he agree to put off the trial or start it next week and allow it to be interrupted.

The senator has been charged with conspiracy to incite mutiny, inciting mutiny and aiding in a mutiny which claimed eight lives and caused more than 30 injuries.

It was aimed at assassinating the army commander, Commodore Bainimarama, and freeing George Speight.