7 Apr 2006

French Polynesian man gets jail sentence for 2004 assembly knife incident

12:47 pm on 7 April 2006

A court in French Polynesia has sentenced a local man to 18 months in jail for an incident which was described as an attempt to kill the former President, Gaston Flosse, in October 2004.

The Tahitipresse news agency says Patrick Mao will have to serve only three months in prison, with the other 15 months being suspended.

Mao was overpowered on the assembly floor while carrying a knife during the no-confidence debate which ended with the fall of the first government led by Oscar Temaru.

Mr Flosse claimed he was the target of an assassination attempt.

But the court convicted him for violence and threats.

He had claimed that he was angry with one of Mr Temaru's supporters, Noa Tetuanui, who switched sides to vote with Mr Flosse to oust the government.

Mao claimed that he wanted to slap Mr Tetuanui because the fall of the government affected his son's chance of getting a job.

The sentence may be appealed.