5 Jun 2002

Telephone records to be used in prosecution of Fiji coup accomplice

10:59 am on 5 June 2002

Telephone records and a letter from George Speight will be used in th treason trial of Fiji coup accomplice Josefa Nata to show that he conspired to overthrow the Chaudhry government in May 2000.

Nata and fellow accomplice Timoci Silatolu have pleaded not guilty to treason in the Suva high court.

The Fiji Sun reports that the prosecution will table telephone records showing that Speight had a conversation with Nata before the coup, proving that they and others conspired to overthrow the government.

The prosecution will also table a letter seized from Nata's home showing that Speight promised Nata the position of cabinet secretary in the new administration.

The deposed prime minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, and his ministers who were held hostage by the coup makers after the overthrow of the government will be subpoenaed to testify in the trial.

The state lawyer, Hong Kong-based Gerard McCoy, says he will call twenty witnesses but would be obliged to summon more if the defence counsels do not agree with the facts.