Thursday, March 04, 2010

Silence and disbelief in court

Timoci Vula

FijiTimes - Thursday, March 04, 2010

A CHARGED silence followed by outpourings of disbelief reigned over the High Court in Suva yesterday when the assessors pronounced Naitasiri chief Ratu Inoke Takiveitaka and seven others guilty of conspiring to murder Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

The other seven are former CRW soldiers Feoko Gadekibau, Barbados Mills, Eparama Waqatairewa, Kaminieli Vosavere and Pauliasi Namulo; former Fiji Intelligence Service director Colonel Metuisela Mua and former Pacific Connex employee Sivaniolo Naulago.

A silence descended on the courtroom when the assessors were called in at 2.45pm but murmurs of disbelief grew as each assessor stood up with a guilty opinion that was sealed with Justice Paul Madigan's supporting judgment at 4.30pm.

The four-week trial unfolded amid tight police security.

It culminated with the guilty opinions delivered to a jam-packed courtroom that included the family members of the accused. It acquired a following from the legal fraternity. Also noted in the audience were members of the SDL party.

Ratu Inoke was a picture of stoic acceptance and so were the other accused, politely nodding while dealing with apologetic handshakes and embraces.

It was clear both the opinion and ruling had shocked them but their faces gave little away. In the corridors, forced laughter hushed out exclamations of disbelief. But already people were discussing the likely sentences to be imposed today.

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