Crime & Justice

Fijian PM’s son in the dock for domestic violence in Australia

Sydney, Australia, Sep 16 (EFE).- Fijian prime minister’s son was Friday charged in an Australian court with a string of offenses, including domestic violence and distributing an intimate image without consent.

Ratu Meli Bainimarama, 36, the son of Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, faces 17 counts of stalking, assault, choking, and destroying or damaging private property.

He allegedly committed the crimes between February and May this year.

His lawyer said Bainimarama had not entered the plea and would “rely on his good character in his defense.”

Judge Leanne Robinson also lifted the suppression order the accused had successfully sought on the case over the weekend.

The judge noted that the accusations against Bainimarama “unfortunately” were not unordinary to attract disproportionate media attention.

She said “his identity that he is the son of the serving prime minister of Fiji” had caught some news interest, public broadcaster ABC reported.

Judiciary sources told EFE that the defendant, who was not present at the hearing on Friday and enjoyed provisional release, must appear before the court on Oct.13 via teleconference.

He was arrested last week in the state of Queensland.

Bainimarama, who is in Australia on a non-resident visa, was transferred to New South Wales last Friday.

His father, an armed forces commander, seized power in Fiji in a coup in 2006 and then continued as prime minister after winning elections in 2014 and 2017.

The charges against the prime minister’s only son come in an election year for the politician.

In recent years, Frank Bainimarama has become one of the most prominent voices against climate change, which affects Fiji and other Pacific island nations due to rising sea levels and weather instability. EFE


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