(o) Breaking News: Guilty Sentenced to 3 to 7 Years


Guilty sentenced to between three to seven years. It seems likely they will appeal.

Comments

Jon said…
The Fiji Times has been known to slant its reporting but with censors now reviewing all stories its unlikely that complete fabrications will be able to see the light of day. Therefore the article in which Justice Madigan’s words are purported to have been reproduced verbatim concerns me. Please refer to
http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=141462

"In late 2007 the state of Fiji was in a very fragile state, and had this plot succeeded, the consequences are unthinkable," said High Court judge Justice Paul Madigan in his judgment over eight men found guilty of conspiracy to murder Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

"There has been no evidence before this Court of any thought given to the fate of the average Fijian should the country be suddenly rid of its President, Prime Minister and army the plans of the accused were totally self-serving, thoughtless and greedy.

"There was no plan to establish a responsible government to replace the targeted institutions it was totally destructive rather than constructive….

"I have no hesitation in concluding that this plot was selfish, petulant and arrogant, and potentially highly destructive of the fabric of Fiji's statehood."

Although I’m happy to accept the verdict (and I don’t think anyone would care if I didn’t) it seems that Justice Madigan is presuming the guilt of all the accused or, at the very least, overstepping the boundary of the charge – the conspiracy to murder Mr Bainimarama, since they were not accused of attempting to rid Fiji of its President or the army.

Alternatively he appears to be using the occasion as an opportunity to whitewash the present administration for carrying out virtually the same act on the unspoken basis that, unlike the conspirators, the military hierarchy did ‘have a plan’.
Jon said…
One more point. In your laudable campaign against (usually anti government) media bias, you will no doubt be interested to reflect on the headline to the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation article for which you provide a link:

“Fiji assassins get 3 to 7 years imprisonment”. No one, to my knowledge, was assassinated.

Fiji Times on the other hand gets it strictly correct with their headline of
“Assassination plot had sinister, racial intentions: Judge”
Croz Walsh said…
Jon,

The judge was summing up. This is how he saw the case, but I stand chastised for not picking up the FBCL error. One neutral-to-anti-Government blogger (Fiji Today) who sat through the whole case thought the judgment fair but was surprised the assessor verdict was unanimous.
joe said…
I hope this goes to appeal and a re-trial ordered with the pig ballu ordered to stand trial with the other 8.
Jon said…
Mr Wash

My earlier point was that the judge’s summing up seems strange.

He notes that there was
“…no evidence… given to the fate of the average Fijian…” and that
"…there was no plan to establish a responsible government".

If he had expected the defence to provide such evidence, it would surely have meant that they would have been implicitly admitting their guilt?

Justice Madigan didn’t state, or allude, to taking this into account when he sentenced the guilty men, however the fact that he mentions it in his summing up is an indication that it formed part of his thought process when sentencing them.

If he felt that the apparent lack of future planning was an exacerbating factor in this crime and one which warranted increasing the respective jail terms, this would have been unfair.

Perhaps this is being too picky about the niceties of language and content, however in such a high profile case where many questions, nationally and internationally, are being asked of the independence of the judiciary, it would have behoved Justice Madigan to have been a little more circumspect in his summary.

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