20 Mar 2003

Fiji court finds Nata and Silatolu guilty of treason

6:30 pm on 20 March 2003

The five assessors hearing the High Court trial of Fiji coup accomplices Josefa Nata and Timoci Silatolu have found both men guilty of treason.

Radio Fiji reports that Justice Andrew Wilson asked the assessors individually to give their opinions first in the case of Silatolu and then Nata.

They were unanimous in their guilty verdicts.

The radio says one of the women assessors wept openly in court after giving her verdict.

Justice Wilson has adjourned the court until Friday afternoon when he will deliver his own judgement.

The maximum penalty for treason in Fiji is now life imprisonment after parliament abolished the death penalty for it last year.

The new law came into effect after the coup front man George Speight's sentence of death for treason was immediately commuted to a life term.