23 Jan 2003

Defence lawyers in Fiji treason case claim their clients have no case to answer

11:10 am on 23 January 2003

Lawyers for the Fiji coup accomplices, Josefa Nata and Timoci Silatolu, have told the Suva High Court that they have no case to answer.

They made the submission at the close of the prosecution case in which Nata and Silatolu are charged with treason for the May 2000 coup.

They told the court they did not need to respond to the charges as the state has insufficient evidence.

Both men are being defended by lawyers provided by the Legal Aid Commission funded by taxpayers.

Nata's lawyer, Alexander Wolfe, said the state's prosecution case was too flimsy and would not be able to sustain the treason charge.

Silatolu's lawyer, Sevuloni Valenitabua, said the basic elements stipulated by law to constitute a treason charge were not established by the state.

The deputy director of public prosecutions, Peter Ridgeway, said the claims were extraordinary and he would respond when the court resumes today.