17 Jun 2005

Fiji's former deputy Public Prosecutor denies claim that he has been expelled from the country

10:19 am on 17 June 2005

A senior Australian criminal prosecutor who won convictions for treason against key figures in Fiji's 2000 coup says he is not aware of any move to expel him from Fiji.

An Australian newsagency report, quoting unidentified Fiji law sources, said former deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Peter Ridgway, was returning to Fiji to help out in a number of coup-related cases when Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase cancelled his new contract and gave him two weeks to quit the country.

Mr Ridgway says he is aware of what he called "beaureaucratic problems" with his new contract but says he has not heard from the prime minister.

During his term as Fiji's deputy DPP, Mr Ridgway played a supporting role in the case in which George Speight pleaded guilty to treason.

He also prosecuted the treason trials of politician Timoci Silatolu and journalist Joe Nata who were convicted and jailed for life.

Fiji government officials were not available for comment on the issue