17 Dec 2005

Concern that more coup-accused Fiji soldiers may apply for bail

8:25 am on 17 December 2005

Fiji's military has expressed serious concern that more detained soldiers will apply for bail if their court martial for coup and mutiny related offences is delayed further.

Already ten of the 20 detained soldiers have applied for bail and their application will be heard in the High Court next week.

Five months ago the High Court set aside their earlier conviction and sentences on a legal technicality and ordered that they should be retried.

Since then two attempts to convene the court martial have stalled because of bureaucratic wrangles in the government over the appointment of the judge advocate, Graham Leung.

The military spokesman, Captain Neumi Leweni, has told Fiji TV that any further delays could lead to more soldiers applying for bail and if they're set free, they could interfere with witnesses and add to already existing problems.