7 Mar 2003

Prosecutor says claims by defendants in Fiji treason trial obscene

4:51 pm on 7 March 2003

The prosecutor in the treason trial of Fiji Coup accomplices, Josefa Nata and Timoci Silatolu, has described as obscene their claims that they were in parliament as good samaritans.

Radio Fiji says the obscenity label was attached by Peter Ridgeway in the Suva High Court today.

The radio report says Nata and Silatolu have maintained in the trial that they were in parliament trying to secure the release of members of the Chaudhry government who were held as hostages.

Mr Ridgeway said both had the temerity to come into court and offend common sense by denying they had the same objective as George Speight when the evidence presented before the court plainly indicated the opposite.

Mr Ridgeway says video footage of the events in parliament was not only a direct window into the coup but also showed Nata ceremonially handing over the highest office in the land, that of president, to a usurper, Ratu Joe Seniloli.

The prosecutor also emphasised that neither Nata nor Silatolu had put forward any evidence that an immediate threat had been put on their lives to force them to work with Speight.