30 Oct 2007

Fiji's army hits out at DPP over murder charges

11:10 am on 30 October 2007

Fiji's military has criticised the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions over the manner in which it laid murder charges against eight soldiers and a policeman for their alleged involvement in the death of a Nadi teenager in January this year.

The military spokesman, Lt Col Mosese Tikoitoga, has told Radio Legend the DPP's Office had given no prior warning that such charges would be laid.

He says the DPP's actions were unfair as they were not informed of the proposed charges before the soldiers were given their overseas assignments.

The soldiers were stopped with a court order at Nadi Airport as they were preparing to leave for Iraq last Saturday.

Lt Col Tikoitoga says if the DPP had given some warning the soldiers and their families would not have been put in that kind of situation.

He says the soldiers were selected for peacekeeping duties because they were not implicated or charged until they were ready to board their flight.

Meanwhile the director of police criminal investigations, Waise Vakamocea, has confirmed they did not receive any instructions from the DPP's Office to lay charges against the soldiers.

Mr Vakamocea says while the police were doing their job, the DPP moved ahead and summoned the soldiers to attend court.