Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Free man Khan wants to fly

Court frees Ballu Khan of charges
12/11/2008
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Millionaire IT businessman Ballu Khan has been set free by the Fiji High Court.

This is after High Court judge Andrew Bruce granted a permanent stay on charges brought by the State against Khan.

The charges relates to allegations that he conspired to have interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, members of his Cabinet and senior military officers assassinated.

Khan has been given his passport back.

In handing down his ruling today, Justice Bruce said the way Ballu Khan was treated by police and military showed his personal liberty was violated.

Others charged with Khan, including former army Land Force Commander Jone Baledrokadroka, Naitasiri chief Qaranivalu Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, former Fiji Intelligence Service chief Metuisela Mua and ex-CRW soldiers will face trial.

The pre-trial conference has been set for November 27.

Meanwhile, State prosecutor Nancy Tikoisuva has indicated that an appeal will be considered after reading the orders given by the High Court.

In giving his ruling, Justice Bruce told the court that he will present the written orders within 48 hours so that it is "precise and is not misinterpreted".


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Free man Khan wants to fly
www.fijilive.com - 12/11/2008
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Fiji-born businessman Ballu Khan has no doubt about where he wants to be after the High Court ruled he is no longer charged with conspiring to assassinate Fiji’s interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama and certain members of his Government last year

“Fiji is not a place for me to live,” a relieved Khan said after the court granted a permanent stay on the charge because of the treatment he received from police and the military during his detention.

“It’s been tough but there is a hint of sadness because from the time I was accused it has been an ordeal. I am now going to re-organise my life and it feels good to taste freedom” said Khan.

Khan did not hide his plans to leave the country as the court ordered that Khan’s passport be released by the State. He told Fijilive that he intends to travel to Australia soon.

“I need to move on with my family as you all know I have no family here in Fiji,” he said.

“I also have to go and see my mother who has been very ill and I need to go for my medical treatment. I hope to make it out of the country provided there is no hindrance.”

Asked if he believed there were going to be any obstacles to his leaving the country, Khan said he would have to wait and see.

Khan’s lawyer, Queen’s Counsel Peter Williams, said outside court that justice has been done.

“We will now get together and look at matters like compensation. The most important thing to note is the liberty of people for it is a constitutional right. Police kept Ballu Khan in custody which was unconstitutional and a breach of his liberty.”

The court has decided that nine others charged with Khan - former army Land Force Commander Jone Baledrokadroka, Naitasiri chief Qaranivalu Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, former Fiji Intelligence Service chief Metuisela Mua, businessman Sivaniolo Naulago, and ex-Counter Revolutionary Warfare Unit members Feoko Gadekibula, Barbados Mills, Eparama Waqatairewa, Kaminieli Vosavere and Pauliasi Navulo - will face trial.

Their pre-trial conference is set for November 27.

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