8 Jun 2004

Fiji coup front man in court again to face civil suit for compensation

6:17 am on 8 June 2004

The Fiji coup front man, George Speight, has appeared in the Lautoka High Court to answer charges relating to the taking of hostages in parliament during the May 2000 coup.

The Fiji Times reports that the Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, and MP Dr Ganesh Chand filed the case.

They are claiming 3-point-6 million US dollars in compensation for the 56 days they were held hostage by Speight and his rebels.

The defendants in the case are Speight and his group, the Fiji military and the Fiji police.

The Fiji Times says prison officers from Suva escorted a hand-cuffed Speight to Lautoka in a government van.

Speight is reported to have told Justice John Connors that he was not represented.

After discussions with the army lawyer, Justice Connors agreed that the case be transferred to the Suva High Court because it would be more convenient to the different parties.

No date for a Suva hearing has been set.