Friday, March 05, 2010

Khan hits out at Madigan comment

Posted by Pacific in the Media, March 4, 2010

Ballu Khan and his lawyer have denied he had anything to do with the plot to assasinate Frank Banimarama and say he should should not have even been mentioned in the court case against the eight men, who have been found guilty of trying to kill the military leader.

Khan (pictured) told New Zealand media today that it was wrong for Justice Paul Madigan to have linked him to the case yesterday when he found the men guilty.
In delivering the verdict of the five assessors, Justice Madigan said: "I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt each of you conspired with others and Ballu Khan to murder Commodore Bainimarama."

A short time ago, Khan told TV One News the claim was outrageous.

Earlier, he told other media: "We never planned anything, they [the military] came up with the plan and it was like they themselves were planning something. We were the collateral in case something went wrong."

Khan was arrested and severely beaten by authorities two years ago, but won a permanent stay of proceedings against him.

In theory, he cannot be retried, but Fiji courts are working by military decree now and Justice Madigan was appointed under those circumstances.

Justice Madigan accepted evidence from Fiji Military Intelligence that Khan was going to use arms and explosives from New Zealand.

The Fiji High Court was also told the New Zealand High Commission knew of the plot and supported it. The plotting was said to have taken place in Mr Khan's Suva home, which he denies.

Khan's New Zealand lawyer, Peter Williams, QC, travelled to Fiji to help secure Khan's release and bring him back to Auckland. Tonight, he supported Khan's comment the Fiji High Court had no legal evidence to connect him to the failed assasination plot.

Hours remain for sentencing of 8 men

In less than four hours, the eight men convicted of the charge of conspiracy to murder the Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama will be sentenced by High Court Judge, Justice Paul Madigan at the Suva High Court.

In their mitigation yesterday, the eight men asked for non-custodial sentences, saying they had played a minimal part in the meetings that were conducted. Several character witnesses were also presented, with the defence counsel and the eight convicted men hoping that non-custodial sentences are handed down today.

After the mitigation yesterday, Justice Madigan stressed that he will seriously consider the degree of participation of each of the eight men when considering the appropriate sentences to be handed down.

While making submissions on the sentence yesterday, DPP Lawyer David Toganivalu highlighted two previous cases on conspiracy to murder charges, and informed the court that in a case in Australia, two conspirators were sentenced to 12 years imprisonment while in another case for a similar offence, two men were sentenced to 9 and 12 years imprisonment.

Toganivalu stressed to Judge Madigan that the sentences must be a deterrent to the eight men and to others who may be thinking of committing such an act.

Justice Madigan questioned Toganivalu on whether he thought there are others who may try such a thing.

He replied that there may be like minded people in our struggling communities who must be deterred from trying to carry out such a crime.

The eight will be sentenced at 3.30 this afternoon.

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