Fiji PM’s son charged with domestic violence in Australia

Ratu Meli Bainimarama in military uniform looks at the camera
Ratu Meli Bainimarama (R)

The son of Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama has been charged with a string of domestic violence offences in Australia.

Ratu Meli Bainimarama, 36, is facing 17 charges, including stalking, assault, and choking.

He is also accused of damaging property and distributing an intimate image without consent.

Mr Bainimarama has not entered a plea but will “rely on his good character” in any defence, his lawyer said.

The offences allegedly took place in Sydney between February and May, but Mr Bainimarama was arrested last week after a police report was made earlier this month.

The Fijian national’s lawyer had successfully applied for a nationwide suppression order on the case over the weekend.

He had argued there was a risk information that wouldn’t be allowed in court would be published and prejudice a jury.

But a magistrate lifted the suppression order on Friday morning, saying there was nothing extraordinary about the case that warrants secrecy.

Mr Bainimarama has been granted bail and his matter is due back in court on October 13.

He is the only son of Frank Bainimarama, who has been in power since 2007 after leading a military coup the year before.

The case comes at an awkward time for the politician, who will face another former PM – Sitivena Rabuka, in an election later this year.

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