10 Oct 2006

French Polynesian lawyer welcomes spy retrial in France

4:12 pm on 10 October 2006

The lawyer of a former French Polynesian spy says he welcomes that an appeal of his slander conviction will go to an appeal court in Paris.

The highest criminal court in France has sent the case of Vetea Guilloux not back to Tahiti but to a court in Paris after ruling that his one-year jail sentence given in Tahiti was in excess of what the penal code allowed.

Guilloux was convicted for alleging that fellow spies working for the then president, Gaston Flosse, abducted and drowned a journalist, Jean-Pascal Couraud, off Tahiti in 1997.

No body has ever been found and a murder investigation is still open.

Guilloux's lawyer, Stanley Cross, says the judiciary in Tahiti is under political pressure.

"I have sent some cases from Tahiti to France where we have seen more independence from the judges in Paris."

Stanley Cross.