14 Sep 2018

Appeal to be filed in Nauru 19 case

9:11 am on 14 September 2018

Nauru's Director of Public Prosecutions is to appeal a Supreme Court decision granting a permanent stay on the trial of the so-called Nauru 19.

Justice Geoffrey Muecke presided over the trial of 19 defendants accused of rioting during anti-government protests more than three years ago.

The Nauru government has released a statement saying the trial had been caught in long running legal wrangles over the defendants' right to counsel, legal aid as well as allegations that they would not be accorded a fair trial.

Crowds gather in Nauru

Images from the anti-government protests in 2015 Photo: supplied/ Shane Bazzi

It said the ruling by Justice Muecke had the practical effect of halting the trial, but also said it was not a determination of guilt or innocence of the accused.

The government said evidence in the case had not been heard or given and subsequently the Director of Public Prosecutions would be filing an appeal.

In expressing its disappointment over the court's ruling, a government spokesperson underscored the seriousness of the charges against the defendants and said Justice Muecke's decision was wrong in law and needed to be corrected by an appeal.