23 Oct 2002

Fiji attorney general appeals legal aid for Silatolu

10:27 am on 23 October 2002

The Fiji attorney general's office has appealed against a high court order that the state provide legal aid in the treason trial of the May 2000 coup accomplice, Timoci Silatolu.

The Fiji Times reports that Justice Andrew Wilson had earlier ruled that Silatolu's right to legal representation and equality before the law had been contravened.

Justice Wilson ordered that the state rovide legal aid for Silatolu just as it had done for fellow coup accomplice, Josefa Nata.

Silatolu's lawyer, Kitione Vuetaki, withdrew from the case when the trial was open after his name was found on coup related documents seized from Nata's home.

The Legal Aid Commission refused to provide a lawyer for Silatolu on the grounds that he had sifficient assets to pay for his defence.

A senior officer in the attorney-general's office says the state has appealed the declaration and orders by the high court and the legal process is under way.

Silatolu's trial is due to resume on November the 15th.