27 Nov 2002

Fiji appeal court rejects stay application in treason trial

5:19 am on 27 November 2002

The Fiji Court of Appeal has rejected an application by the coup accomplice Timoci Silatolu's lawyer for a stay in his treason trial.

Radio Fiji reports that the ruling means that the first prosecution witness in the treason trial will be called this morning.

The deputy director of public prosecutions, Peter Ridgeway, says a television archivist will be the first witness.

He says the deposed prime minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, will give his evidence tomorrow.

Mr Ridgeway says the identity of the other state wtnesses will be revealed as the trial proceeds.

In his opening submission, Mr Ridgeway said 18 telephone calls were made between Silatolu and his coup accomplice, Josefa Nata, in April and May 2000 before the coup was staged on the 19th of the month.

Phone calls were also made to the coup front man, George Speight, and fellow coup accomplice, Iliesa Duvoloco.

Mr Ridgeway said the two were part of Speight's group and were part andf parcel of the coup consipiracy.

Meanwhile,the judge hearing the treason case, Justice Andrew Wilson, has warned the media not to reveal the names of any of the five assessors who will be assisting him in the case, as this will be contempt of court.