13 Nov 2007

Fiji Magistrate gives reasons for refusing bail to men facing mutiny and conspiracy

7:35 am on 13 November 2007

Suva magistrate John Semisi says the 11 men arrested for inciting mutiny and conspiracy to murder key Fiji government figures are facing some of the most serious charges known in criminal law.

Mr Semisi makes the comment in his written reasons for refusing bail to the accused.

He says it would be "foolhardy and naïve to underestimate the seriousness of the offences" which carry sentences of between 14 years and life.

Mr Semisi says such offences can only be tried in the High Court and it will be the domain of the High Court to examine the reasons given in the defence lawyers' bail applications and the state for opposing it.

Mr Semisi also notes that now that there is a roadmap towards holding an election, the last thing Fiji needs of further instability.

The eleven accused include the Naitasiri paramount chief and former government senator, Ratu Inoke Takiveikata and his brother-in-law and former senior military officer, Lt Col Jone Baledrokadroka, Also charged are the former director of the dissolved Fiji Intelligence Service, Col Metuisela Mua, former MP Peceli Rinakama, and some special forces soldiers who carried out the May 2000 coup and the army mutiny in November of that year.