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Prosecution request court martial for lenient sentence

July 10, 2018 12:43 am

The Prosecution in the court-martial of four Navy sailors have requested the court to consider a lesser sentence.

The Prosecution presented their sentence hearing at the RFMF camp in Nabua this morning.

The four officers Lieutenant Commander Saula Tuilevuka, Lieutenant Samuela Cikaitoga, Lieutenant Ben Salacakau and Ensign Michael Brown are charged with neglecting to perform a duty contrary to Section 29 A(b) of the Army Act 1955 resulting in the grounding of RFNS Kiro on July 14th, 2016.

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Prosecutor, Captain Aisea Paka told the court under the act, any person subject to military law shall be liable to be imprisoned for a term not exceeding two years.

However, Captain Paka requested the court-martial to consider Section 71 and 71 (A) of the Army Act which outlines lesser punishments for an officer.

This includes imprisonment, dismissal from the ship, dismissal from RFMF services, reduction to rank, severe reprimand or reprimand and fine.

The Prosecution pleaded with the court to consider other options and advised the court that imprisonment sentence should be the last resort.

Captain Paka also advised the court they can only fine an accused with regards to his salary for only 28 days.

The Prosecutor also informed the court they sought the assistance from Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Lee Burney as this is the first case of its kind in Fiji.

The court session has been adjourned to Thursday for the sentencing brief.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Commander Tuilevuka while holding the appointment of Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) failed to submit a report to the Navy Headquarters on the Operational Sea Check of the RFNS Kiro.

Lieutenant Cikaitoga while holding the appointment of commanding officer, failed to train the navigation officer, Ensign Brown, to be familiar with the ship’s navigation equipment, failed to fill his order book as his duty required him to do so and gave approval to the navigator to proceed with the initial plan without paying attention to the requirement of regulation on safety clearance for coastal navigation.

Lieutenant Salacakau was the Executive Officer on board the RFNS Kiro and failed to ensure the RFNS Kiro night order book was handed to the Commanding Officer.

Ensign Brown while holding the appointment of navigation officer neglected to alter its course to avoid grounding the vessel on Belcher Rock.

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