23 Apr 2005

One of five Fiji men pleads guilty capital offence during coup

7:20 am on 23 April 2005

One of a group of five Fiji men charged with serious coup related offences has pleaded guilty before the trial could begin.

Antonio Tanaburenisau has pleaded guilty to a charge of taking an illegal oath to commit a capital offence by being sworn in as a purported minister in George Speight's failed administration.

He'll appear in court again on May 23rd for mitigation before sentencing.

The others charged with the same offence who have pleaded not guilty are the transport minister, Simione Kaitani, Viliame Sausauwai, Eroni Lewaqai and Levani Tonitonivanua.

Their High Court trial before Justice Anthony Gates will begin on May 26th.

The charge, which is equivalent to treason, is the same as that for which the former vice president, Ratu Jope Seniloli, was jailed for four years, and the former deputy speaker of parliament, Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure, for six years.