By Veronica Howard-Evans

SUVA, Fiji Islands (January 3, 2000 - Fiji Sun/PINA Nius Online)---The Suva High Court has deferred the committal hearing into the treason charges against George Speight and alleged supporters for their part in the May 19 Fiji coup.

The hearing was scheduled for the Suva Magistrates Court today.

The Director of Public Prosecutions applied to the High Court to have the names of the witnesses withheld during the committal hearing and to bar Chief Magistrate Salesi Temo from conducting the oral preliminary inquiry or committal hearing.

Justice Nazhat Shameem made an interim ruling that the committal hearing be deferred until she was ready to rule on the application.

State prosecutor Robert Schuster and an overseas counsel, who is helping the prosecution in the case, made the application.

Acting Director of Public Prosecutions Josaia Naigulevu said that the interim stay order granted by the High Court would ensure that the committal hearings do not commence today.

He also said that Justice Shameem would also rule on his office's application for Mr. Temo to be barred from hearing the case, although he did not reveal the grounds of the application.

In the last appearance by Speight and group, Mr. Temo granted the defense’s application to have the identities of witnesses and had given 28 days for the Director of Public Prosecution's office to appeal.

Mr. Naigulevu said it was these 28 days of appeal that his office was taking advantage of, to protect the witnesses who had come forward to testify against the group.

Speight and his group continue to be held in a temporary prison on an island off Suva.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: 

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment