15 Jul 2005

Fiji High Court denies bail to coup convicts

2:28 pm on 15 July 2005

The Suva High Court in Fiji has denied bail to five high profile coup convicts pending the hearing of their appeals.

They are the former director of the Fiji Intelligence Service, Col Metuisela Mua, former army lawyer Major Tevita Bukarau, former soldier Jioji Bakoso, Eroni Lewaqai and Viliame Sausauwai.

The Suva magistrate's court had jailed the five after finding them guilty of consorting with people carrying firearms and illegal assembly inside the parliament complex during the coup, when rebel gunmen were holding the deposed government hostage.

Their lawyer, Rabo Matebalavu, argued that his client's appeal against sentence had a good chance of succeeding and several of them were sole breadwinners in the family and their jailing was causing hardship.

But Justice Nazhat Shameem ruled that she was not persuaded that their appeal would succeed.