Hearing in Tahiti's JPK case deferred to June

5:55 am on 1 May 2020

The Covid-19 outbreak in French Polynesia has forced a scheduled hearing in the case of the alleged killing of a journalist Jean-Pascal Couraud to be postponed until 30 June.

Grave of Jean-Pascal Couraud in Punaauia, Tahiti

Grave of Jean-Pascal Couraud in Punaauia, Tahiti Photo: RNZI Walter Zweifel

The journalist, known as JPK, vanished in 1997, and last June his ex-partner Miri Tatarata and a friend Francis Stein were charged with his murder.

The two, who were said to have had an affair at the time of the journalist's disappearance, challenged the indictment process in December.

Their lawyer want the charges to be dropped because according to them, nothing has been added to the case file which warrants their continued status as charged suspects.

An investigation was first opened in 2004 after a former spy claimed that Mr Couraud had been kidnapped and killed by the government's GIP militia, which dumped him in the sea between Moorea and Tahiti.

Murder charges against two members of the now disbanded GIP were dismissed more than five years ago, after incriminating wiretaps were ruled inadmissible because they had been obtained illegally.

However, kidnapping charges had been upheld.

It is not known when or if the case will go to trial.

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