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Court Rules Legal Aid For Leading Coup Participant

23 August 2002

Fiji Court Rules Legal Aid For Leading Coup Participant

SUVA (Pacnews/Pacific Media Watch) --- Fiji's High Court has ordered that one of the key figures of the 2000 coup - a politician who is accused of treason along with a media personality - be granted tax-payer funded legal aid, Pacnews reports.

Ratu Timoci Silatolu, who was named prime minister during George Sleight's coup, is facing a charge of treason together with former journalist Jo Nata.

Silatolu and Nata will now be both represented by the Legal Aid Commission, which had earlier rejected Silatolu's application for legal aid twice on income grounds.

The judge in the case, Justice Andrew Wilson ordered a stay on proceedings until next Thursday when he will review the appointment of a lawyer.

Justice Wilson said Silatolu's "right to equality before the law" and his "right to be given legal representation" has been continuously contravened.

+++niuswire

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