27 Nov 2002

Media staff among the first witnesses in Fiji treason trial

4:51 pm on 27 November 2002

Members of the Fiji media were among the early witnesses when the treason trial of the May 2000 coup accomplices, Timoci Silatolu and Josefa Nata, resumed in Suva today.

Radio Fiji says the first witness summoned was Fiji TV archivist, Tale Moe, who told the High Court that all camera tapes from the day of the coup were not edited.

She said she was merely following instructions to copy all tapes from May the 19th and hand them over to police.

The next witness, Fiji TV cameraman Trevor Whippy, said he went to parliament after hearing of the coup on the radio and had to wait for an hour before the gates were opened for the media.

Mr Whippy said some time later the coup front man, George Speight, held a news conference and told journalists that he had taken over the Labour Party government and the country was under civilian rule.

Speight also said that the army and the police were contacted about what had happened and they fully supported the coup.

The High Court then viewed the videotape of the news conference.

The treason trial is continuing with other journalists taking the stand.