6 Dec 2002

Treason trial of Silatolu and Nata may end in mistrial

8:31 am on 6 December 2002

A report from Fiji says the treason trial of coup accomplices, Timoci Silatolu and Josefa Nata, may end in a mistrial.

The Fiji Times says this is because of a statement made in a related court case which said Silatolu and Nata were present in the SVT office for the final briefing on the coup a day before it took place.

The statement was made during a misprision of treason trial in which nationalist Viliame Savu is charged with having prior knowledge of the coup but failing to inform the authorities about it.

Defence lawyers in the Silatolu and Nata case have raised their concerns about how it would affect their clients.

Justice Andrew Wilson ordered the court closed to the public to allow the prosecution and the defence to present their arguments on whether evidence from the other trial would prejudice the treason trial.

The Fiji Times says it understands the director of public prosecutions is insisting that the treason trial continue although the likelihood of a mistrial exists.

Meanwhile, the misprision of treason case against Savu will continue before Justice Anthony Gates today.