19 Nov 2004

Fiji government senator blames state witnesses for mutiny

8:39 am on 19 November 2004

The defence lawyer for the Fiji government senator on trial for mutiny has blamed the prosecution's main witnesses for the armed rebellion.

Ratu Inoke Takiveikata's Australian lawyer, Gabriel Wendler, has told the Suva High Court that the mastermind of the mutiny was the chief witness for the prosecution, Metuisela Turagacati.

Mr Wendler said Mr Turagacati and another state witness, Jale Kadi, were heavily involved in the mutiny.

Both men were given immunity from prosecution for becoming prosecution witnesses.

Mr Wendler said Takiveikata's role was only as a negotiator and mediator in the 2000 crisis.

Earlier, the state prosecutor, Daniel Howard had told the court that Takiveikata had used his chiefly position to incite and aid the mutiny which caused eight deaths.

Justice Anthony Gates will sum up the case next week before the five assessors are asked to give their verdict.