Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Fiji kill plot likened to Saddam Hussein case

Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, March 02, 2010

The Prosecution’s case in the trial of eight men accused of trying to kill the Prime Minister, has been likened to the US case against the late Iraq president Saddam Hussein.

Defense lawyer Iqbal Khan made the comment as he concluded his summing up before assessors at the Suva High Court this morning.

Khan says the US case against Saddam was based on intelligence reports that alleged Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, which turned out to be false.

He says the accusation that his clients hatched an assassination plot against Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama was based on inaccurate intelligence reports from military operatives.

Khan said Military intelligence officers Corporal Peniasi Kuli and Major Isireli Narawa should also be in the dock alongside the accused because they too conspired to kill the PM, as they tried to get the accused involved,

He says the Military’s operation against the former CRW soldiers should be code named “Operation Liumuri” because they set out to trap the men.

He says the State hasn’t proved their case beyond reasonable doubt because of the inconsistencies in evidence given by their witnesses.

However, in his summing up, Director of Public Prosecutions lawyer David Toganivalu said inconsistencies by prosecution witnesses are not unusual.

He says there doesn’t need to be direct evidence to convict someone in the court of law.

Toganivalu says all prosecution witnesses placed the accused people at the scene of the 14 meetings that were allegedly held to discuss the assassination plot.

Toganivalu said it was no coincidence that all the former CRW soldiers were working for Ballu Khan and that they had motive to try to kill Commodore Bainimarama because they tried it once in the year 2000.

He asked the assessors to treat Corporal Kuli as an undercover agent and not to be treated as a corroborator in their deliberations.

Another defense lawyer Akuila Naco told the assessors, the operation the Military Intelligence Cell carried out against the eight accused were riddled with errors, inaccuracies and misinformation.

The remaining summing up will be made by Judge Justice Paul Madigan, which is likely to be this afternoon or early tomorrow morning.

The Assessors will then retire to reach a verdict on the trial.

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