18 Mar 2003

Treason trial verdict expected tomorrow

5:21 am on 18 March 2003

The treason trial of Fiji coup accomplices Josefa Nata and Timoci Silatolu, is drawing to a close with a verdict expected tomorrow afternoon or soon after.

Justice Andrew Wilson has told the five assessors they must set aside any feelings of sympathy or friendship.

And they must clear their minds of matters of race, politics bad ethnicity when they reach a decision.

Justice Wilson said the defence lawyers had made many errors in law but the assessors had to judge facts, not the law.

He said if the government of England were seized, hostages taken, the constitution abrogated and an illegal government and head of state appointed, this would constitute treason in that country.

Justice Wilson said these factors would constitute treason in Fiji.

Justice Wilson said they would have to reach a verdict tomorrow afternoon after he finishes summing up in the morning.

Otherwise, they should come with their clothes and toiletries to stay isolated until they reach a decision, both for their own safety and to ensure that their verdict is not tampered with from outside.