Flosse defence justifies Tahiti surveillance

2:39 pm on 25 March 2015

French Polynesia's criminal court has been told that the surveillance by a defunct espionage service was only conducted in public and was therefore legal.

Monthly magazine Tahiti Pacifique

Monthly magazine Tahiti Pacifique Photo: RNZI

The service was operational between 1997 and 2004 and reported to the then president Gaston Flosse, who is among eight people charged with violating the privacy of a range of individuals.

Flosse's defence lawyer says political intelligence is not forbidden, referring to the original complaint by Flosse's political rival, Oscar Temaru, who dropped his action once the two had reconciled.

A separate complaint was lodged by the publisher of Tahiti Pacifique, Alex du Prel, who alleges that by running the unit, Flosse misused ten million US dollars of public funds.

He says the court was told that nothing of the unit's work is left.

"They produced testimony that it took them three days to burn stuff in a drum, all the photos, documents and so on, all the equivalent was put in a van and there are several testimonies to that effect."

Three years ago, Flosse was convicted for obstructing the examination of the case and he was fined 16,000 US dollars for destroying evidence.

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