13 Mar 2006

Man accused in French Polynesia of wanting to kill the former president

7:50 am on 13 March 2006

A verdict is expected in French Polynesia next month in the case of a local man, Patrick Mao, who was accused of wanting to kill the former President, Gaston Flosse, in October 2004.

Mr Mao was overpowered on the assembly floor while carrying a knife, during the no-confidence debate which ended with the fall of the first government led by Oscar Temaru.

Mr Flosse claimed he was the target of an assassination attempt.

But a Papeete court has now heard Mr Mao's claim that he was angry with one of Mr Temaru's supporters, Noa Tetuanui, who voted with Mr Flosse to oust the government.

Mr Mao claimed that he wanted to slap Mr Tetuanui because the fall of the government affected his son's chance of getting a job.

The prosecution has demanded that Mr Mao be given a two-year suspended jail sentence.

A ruling is due in just under a month.