3 May 2005

Four out of five Fiji coup convicts apologise in mitigation

9:11 am on 3 May 2005

Four out of the five Fiji men convicted for coup related offences have apologised to the nation for their actions.

Former army lawyer Major Tevita Bukarau, former director of the Fiji Intelligence Service Col Metuisela Mua, Eroni Lewaqai and Viliame Sausauwai offered their apology as part of the mitigation in asking for lenient sentences.

But the fifth convict, businessman Jioji Bakoso, has maintained his innocence.

All five have been found guilty on two charges of unlawful assembly and one charge of consorting with people carrying firearms during the coup.

Bukarau and Mua claimed they had helped to diffuse tension in parliament during the hostage taking of the coup.

Sausauwai and Lewaqai expressed regret and asked for lenient sentences.

Earlier, prominent figures including a Fiji cabinet minister, high chiefs, the general manager of the Native Lands Trust Board and senior Methodist Church officials appeared in court to testify that the men were of good character.

Magistrate Ajmal Khan will sentence them on Thursday.