9 Sep 2005

Fiji judge says another coup is unlikely

10:39 am on 9 September 2005

A Fiji Court of Appeal judge has told the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference in Nadi that another coup is unlikely.

The Fiji Times says Justice Michael Scott told over 500 parliamentarians from around the world that a coup is unlikely because people have learnt a lesson from the 1987 and 2000 coups.

Justice Scott said the coups had brought death, destruction and long prison terms which the people would not want to go through again.

He said in the 1987 coup, there was no bloodshed and amnesty was given.

But, he said, the May 2000 coup was different.

Justice Scott also said the power sharing arrangements in the 1997 Constitution were in theory and not thought out carefully, and the courts were not able to offer a solution.

Justice Scott was the High Court judge who sentenced George Speight to death when he pleaded guilty to treason for the May 2000 coup.

Within hours the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in what Speight's lawyer said had been a pre-arranged plea bargain.