3 Dec 2002

Fiji nuclear compensation case to go to London court

9:48 am on 3 December 2002

Former Fiji soldiers exposed to radiation during British nuclear weapons testing on Christmas Island during the late 1950's will have their case heard in the high court in London after investigations are complete.

The Fiji Times reports that two British lawyers are in the country to collect evidence, affidavits and material to support the case.

The British Legal Aid Commission has sent David Harris and Mervin Fudge to take up the case of 1,000 military veterans who suffered illnesses and loss of income after exposure to the tests.

Mr Harris says they have been instructed that only one class action of behalf of veterans in Fiji, New Zealand and Britain can be brought before the London high court against the British defence ministry.

Mr Harris says it is too early to reveal the amount being sought but says the compensation given to each veteran after the legal challenge would depend on his standard of living.

In its submissions, the Fiji Ex-servicemen's Association says it regrets not being informed about the ill-effects of the nuclear radiation.