27 Nov 2013

Former Fiji military chief faces up to 15 years in jail after mutiny verdict

11:37 am on 27 November 2013

A former top ranking Fiji soldier, Pita Driti, faces up to 15 years in jail after being found guilty of inciting mutiny.

The High Court in Suva was packed yesterday to hear the verdict of Justice Paul Madigan who overturned the earlier not guilty opinion of assessors.

The court had earlier heard Driti was involved in a plot in 2010 to remove the Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and overthrow the government led by Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

Our correspondent in Suva, Ricardo Morris, says the judge rejected the assessors' opinion because he preferred the evidence of the main prosecution witness Lieutenant-Colonel Manasa Tagicakibau.

"Justice Madigan acknowledged that it was a political case with political overtones because Pita Driti was at the time the Land Force Commander and he maintained throughout the trial that his loyalty was to the Commander but that the Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum had been leading Fiji in a different direction."

Our correspondent in Suva, Ricardo Morris

A hearing For Driti's sentencing takes place next month.