6 Sep 2003

Fiji coup front man to be re-tried on charges dating back to 1999

9:48 am on 6 September 2003

A Fiji High Court judge has ordered the coup front man, George Speight, taken back to the magistrate's court for breaches of the Exchange Control Act.

Speight and a business associate, Tony Stevens, were charged with sending over 10 thousand US dollars out of Fiji in 1999 without approval from the Reserve Bank.

Radio Fiji reports that magistrate Selesi Temo discharged Speight without conviction last year after he pleaded guilty.

Ruling on the state prosecutor's appeal against the discharge, Justice Nazhat Shameem said documents tendered in court clearly showed Speight sent the funds out of Fiji.

She has ordered that Speight's acquittal be set aside and he should be taken back to magistrate Temo who should hear the case again.

Speight was first due to appear in court on the charge on May 19, 2000, the day he carried out the coup and took the Chaudhry government hostage.