4 Feb 2003

Prosecution at Fiji treason trial accuses witnesses of fabricating evidence

10:31 am on 4 February 2003

One of the two Fiji coup accomplices, Timoci Silatolu, is facing accusations of making things up at his treason trial currently under way in Suva.

The prosecutor, Peter Ridgeway, made the accusation after Silatolu changed the evidence he had given in cross-examination last week.

Silatolu siad he had made mistakes in his earlier statement because he did not understand the questions and English was not his mother tongue.

But Mr Ridgeway said Silatolu's fabricated stories were beginning to unravel.

When questioned by his defence lawyer, Silatolu said he did not deny that his signatures were on decrees issued by George Speight's failed administration.

Last week, Silatolu said he did not sign any decrees but only blank sheets of paper.

A prosecution witness serving time for his role in the coup, Viliame Savu, also contradicted himself when cross-examined by the defence on Silatolu's attendance at a meeting to plan the coup.

Another defence witness who was sworn into Speight's administration as attorney general and is the current deputy speaker of parliament, Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure, was not in court when summoned to give evidence.

Justice Andrew Wilson has given him until today to appear.