20 Nov 2002

Fiji court considers bail application in treason trial

11:54 am on 20 November 2002

Fiji's High Court was sent into closed session yesterday as one of two men facing a treason charge over the coup in 2000 made an eleventh-hour bid to apply for bail.

The two, Josefa Nata and Timoci Silatolu, are due to go to trial on Tuesday as last defendants in the treason trials.

Silatolu, who was sworn in by coup front man George Speight's gang as prime minister on the first day of the coup, launched the bail application which the state says it will oppose on national security grounds.

The presiding judge, Australian Justice Andrew Wilson, has criticised the timing of the bail application, saying it is tantamount to abuse of the court system.

He told Silatolu's lawyer that his client had been in prison for more than two years and never before had an application for bail been given to the court.