17 Mar 2003

Judge's summing up in Fiji treason trial begins

3:15 pm on 17 March 2003

The judge hearing the treason trial of Fiji coup accomplices, Josefa Nata and Timoci Silatolu has begun his summing up.

A Radio Fiji report says Justice Andrew Wilson has told the five assessors in the case to cast aside any prejudice and look at the facts and evidence presented in court before deciding on the fate of the accused.

Justice Wilson said there have been a lot of public discussions about the coup and a lot of theories have come up about the involvement of different people.

Jutice Wilson said the only issue before the court is whether state prosecutors had proven beyond any reasonable doubt that Nata and Silatolu were guilty of treason.

He said the ultimate verdict will not necessarily bring out the truth since the treason trial was not an inquiry into the coup.

Justice Wilson told the assessors that if they found any reasonable doubt in the cases of Nata and Silatolu, they should acquit the accused.

Otherwise, they should not shrink from the duty of pronouncing them guilty of treason.

The summing up is continuing.