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You said it Audrey and you knew who recruited you.

November 26, 2013

WHEN you have power, use it well. These were the words of Hong Kong-based lawyer Audrey Campbell-Moffat during her closing submission in the trial of former land force commander Pita Driti who faces a count of inciting mutiny and another of committing a seditious offence.

In her submissions, Mrs Campbell-Moffat quoted a famous saying that “absolute power corrupts”.

She submitted that even attempting to overthrow the government was a serious offence.

“In this case, even attempting is a serious offence. You don’t have to succeed. Just attempting is a serious offence on its own,” Mrs Campbell-Moffat said.

She argued that the first prosecution witness, Lieutenant Colonel Manasa Tagicakibau, was telling the truth in his evidence.

Mrs Campbell-Moffat said in his evidence Lt-Col Tagicakibau stated that he was disappointed to find out after returning to Fiji from overseas after a one-year course that he had nothing to do.

This was because, the court heard, that his duty and responsibility as the head of the Logistics Support Unit was being handled by former 3FIR commander, Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara.

She said in his evidence, Lt-Col Tagicakibau also said he approached Ratu Tevita about the subject but his concerns were brushed off, so he approached Mr Driti.

It was said in court that it was during one of those few meetings with Mr Driti that Lt-Col Tagicakibau was allegedly instructed by Mr Driti to come up with a plan to kill Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum before December 25, 2010.

Mrs Campbell-Moffat also raised a question that was posed to Mr Driti during his caution interview where he was asked who did they have in mind for the Prime Minister’s position, to which he replied that they did not have anyone in mind yet.

She said when he did not deny that question, it meant he and his associates were attempting a coup.

“It’s quite obvious to say now that he is guilty of the charges and to find him guilty of the inciting mutiny offence.”

The assessors will deliver their opinions today.

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This blog is totally flabbergasted and astounded at the hypocritical nature with which Hong Kong based attorney, Mrs Audrey Campbell-Moffat, made her closing submission yesterday. Firstly, she mentioned that ‘when you have power use it well’. I don’t really know in who’s direction was she looking when she uttered those words. I really hope she only had her eyes on the judge with Khaiyum and Bainimarama at the back of her mind, knowing that only they have the powers to sway him.

Then she misquoted saying that ‘absolute power corrupts’. The correct quotation should have been ‘power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely’. Again, I wonder who she was referring to when she minced those words. As a land force commander, Driti was answerable to the commander, Bainimarama. He did not have absolute power over the military. The only 2 people who, we all know to have absolute powers over Fiji are Khaiyum and Bainimarama. No wonder the state of affairs in Fiji is in a mess because all our troubles are doubled as they take us down the route to double destruction.

Audrey Campbell even went as far as to say that ‘even attempting to overthrow the government was a serious offence’. To muster the courage to say what she said is beyond comprehension. I can see Paul Madigan acting like he was sitting on hot furnace and was getting ready to run. In his mind he was probably pleading with Audrey to ‘stop it please’. He was as he should be, consumed with guilt as Audrey uttered those words, not at Driti’s direction but the judges and the two shadowy figures behind him.

In a way, I am happy that Audrey said what she said. It was so loud and clear that I am  sure it is will be vibrating in Madigan’s, Khaiyum’s and Bainimarama’s head for ever. If, in Audrey’s words, ‘even attempting to overthrow the government is a serious offence’, then Khaiyum, Bainimarama and their illegal regime, including of course Madigan, should bow their heads in shame.

Rusi Varani for SWM.

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