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Speight Lawyers Prepare Defence To Treason Charges

http://www.abc.net.au/news/newslink/nat/newsnat-25jan2001-48.htm

SUVA (Pasifik Nius): With Fiji braced for next month's critical appeals court ruling on the Constitution, lawyers representing failed coup leader George Speight and his supporters, say they have worked out a strategy to contest the treason charges against their clients, reports ABC National Radio.

The court will hear the interim Government's appeal against Justice Anthony Gates' ruling that the Constitution is still in place.

Speight's lawyers say they will split their defence into three groups.

The defence counsels say that grouping the defence into three will enable them to fight their clients' case more effectively.

However, confirmation as to whether a trial against the Speight group will go ahead will be determined at the outcome of the Fiji Court of Appeal hearing on the validity of the immunity decree.

State prosecutors have stated that the fate of treason charges against the Speight group lies entirely with the immunity decree which has been declared invalid for the group because some of the arms allegedly used in the May 19 coup are still missing.

The appeal will be heard from February 19 to 24.

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