World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Accused Coup Plotter Defended By State Lawyer

Accused Coup Plotter To Be Defended By State Lawyer
LINK - Wansolwara Online
By KELERA MUAVESI and IMRAN ALI: August 28, 2002

Wansolwara Online

SUVA (Pacific Media Watch): Accused Fiji coup plotter Ratu Timoci Silatolu - who faces treason charges along with a journalist - will be provided with a defence lawyer by the state, the High Court was told today.

But the decision will be appealed by the Attorney General's office, further delaying the treason trial, which is now expected to resume mid November, or even early next year.

Legal Aid Commission's Nehla Baswaiya told High Court Judge Justice Andrew Wilson of the legal arrangement.

Silatolu, a former member of Parliament, has been charged with treason over his alleged role in the overthrow of the Mahendra Chaudhry-led Labour coalition government in May 2000.

The other accused is former journalist Jo Nata.

Coup frontman George Speight pleaded guilty to treason and is serving a life sentence.

Although lawyer Saveloni Valenitabua has been engaged to defend Silatolu, he did not attend today's hearing because of illness.

Baswaiya informed the court Valenitabua was discharged from hospital this afternoon and needed at least a month to prepare his case.

The court was adjourned for five minutes on the request of the director for Fiji Human Rights Commission, Dr Shaista Shameem, who said she needed time to brief Silatolu on the latest development.

There was lengthy deliberation by all parties on when the trial proper should start because of the intention of the Attorney General's office to appeal the ruling.

"In the overall interest of justice, not only to the two accused but also for justice to the country and its people, I think it's essential the trial proper commences after the appeal," Justice Wilson said.

The judge said he was likely to set a trial starting date between November 19 and 26 or early next year.



PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH is an independent, non-profit, non-government organisation comprising journalists, lawyers, editors and other media workers, dedicated to examining issues of ethics, accountability, censorship, media freedom and media ownership in the Pacific region. Launched in October 1996, it has links with the Journalism Program at the University of the South Pacific, Bushfire Media, the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism, and Pactok Communications, in Sydney and Port Moresby.

(c)1996-2002 Copyright - All rights reserved.

Items are provided solely for review purposes as a non-profit educational service. Copyright remains the property of the original producers as indicated. Recipients should seek permission from the copyright owner for any publishing. Copyright owners not wishing their materials to be posted by PMW please contact us. The views expressed in material listed by PMW are not necessarily the views of PMW or its members.

Recipients should rely on their own inquiries before making decisions based on material listed in PMW. Please copy appeals to PMW and acknowledge source.

For further information, inquiries about joining the Pacific Media Watch

listserve, articles for publication, and giving feedback contact Pacific

Media Watch at: E-mail: Fax: (+679) 30 5779 or (+612) 9660 1804 Mail: PO Box 9, Annandale, NSW 2038, Australia or, PO Box 78028, Auckland 1002, New Zealand. New website:

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


>UN: Recent Kosovo-Serbia Tensions Could ‘Unravel Steady But Fragile Progress’

Tensions over vehicle licence plates and anti-smuggling operations, between authorities in Kosovo and Serbia, in recent weeks, may contribute to unravelling “steady but fragile progress made in rebuilding trust among communities” in Kosovo and Serbia...

ITUC: Nobel Prize In Economics Explodes Minimum Wage And Jobs Myth

The prize was awarded to David Card, Joshua Angrist and Guido Imbens for real-world research in the 1990s that demonstrated, empirically, that the idea touted by conservative economists that higher minimum wages mean fewer jobs is not based on fact... More>>

Science Media Centre: New South Wales Opens Up For Fully-vaccinated – Aus SMC Expert Reaction
Sydney has partially eased Covid-19 restrictions for fully-vaccinated individuals after NSW reached its target of 70 per cent of the population double-dosed. The Australian Science Media Centre has asked experts about the possible risks of the country opening up again...More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

UN: With Clock Ticking, Sustainable Transport Key To Global Goals
From electric cars and buses to zero-carbon producing energy sources, new and emerging technologies along with innovative policy changes, are critical for combating climate change. But to be effective, they must ensure that transport strategies benefit everyone, including the poorest... More>>

COP26: 7 Climate Action Highlights To Remember

A September to remember, a pivotal month for climate action commitments. From the United Nations General Assembly week to the final pre-COP meeting, last month was an important time to build momentum... More>>

UN: Global Leaders Set To Act To Increase Energy Access While Reducing Emissions At First UN Energy Summit In 40 Years

Significant new commitments for financing clean energy, increasing renewables and improving access to electricity are expected to be announced on 24 September at the UN High-level Dialogue on Energy... More>>