4 Mar 2003

Fiji opposition leader backs reduced sentence for Speight in return for coup information

11:13 am on 4 March 2003

Fiji's opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, says he'll support moves to offer the coup front man, George Speight, a reduced sentence in return for information about those who really planned and funded the May 2000 coup.

Speight is currently serving a life sentence after pleading guilty to a charge of treason at the start of his trial, preventing any testimony from being given.

Mr Beddoes' comment came after a media report that Speight wanted to reconcile with the people he had done damage to after hearing of testimony given at the Josefa Nata and Timoci Silatolu treason trial.

Mr Beddoes says if Speight really wants to reconcile, he had better do the right thing and tell the truth about who planned the coup.

The opposition leader says the state should also recall Lt Col Seruvakula from New Zealand to obtain his testimony because it was he who revealed that he had turned down 130 thousand US dollars in cash to support the coup with his troops.

Mr Beddoes says someone took the cash to him, someone provided the money and yet the police seem uninterested in this fact and appear to want all this to disappear.