4 Aug 2004

Fiji vice-president's treason trial approaches end

4:46 pm on 4 August 2004

The treason trial of Fiji vice president Seniloli and five others is drawing to a close with defence lawyers making their final submissions.

The lawyers have been claiming that Seniloli, deputy speaker of parliament Vakalalabure, sports minister Leweniqila and the three others acted under compulsion from George Speight.

The prosecution has already rejected this argument saying there was no evidence of force and the accused acted out of personal greed for power.

The prosecution has also rejected arguments that some of the accused did not know that what they were doing was illegal, adding that ignorance of the law was not an excuse.

The six accused have been charged with taking an illegal oath to commit a capital offence for being sworn in as ministers in Speight's rebel administration in which Seniloli was the usurper president.

Justice Nazhat Shameem will sum up the case before the five assessors decide whether the accused are guilty as charged