6 Mar 2003

Defence summing up begins in Suva treason trial

9:17 am on 6 March 2003

The treason trial of Fiji coup accomplices Josefa Nata and Timoci Silatolu has entered its final stages.

In his summing up yesterday, Nata's lawyer, Alexander Wolfe, said his client was charged with the wrong crime.

Mr Wolfe asked the court to consider whether the evidence provided was sufficient to convict Nata of the most serious crime in the country.

He said Nata's actions in parliament, including participation in the swearing in of Speight's failed administration, should be excused because of the hostile environment where he feared for his life.

Mr Wolfe attacked the police and the prosecution, saying they were not able to provide the best evidence.

He said Nata had been able to give an alternative explanation for events portrayed in the prosecution's case.

Nata also maintained that coup related documents seized from his flat during a police raid, which included a list of names for a post-coup cabinet, were unfamiliar to him.

Mr Wolfe attacked the credibility of prosecution witnesses, saying the court should not believe their evidence.

The defence summing up will continue today.