SINGAPORE-BORN LAWYER SAYS FIJI’S SPEIGHT A PATRIOT

SUVA, Fiji Islands (June 7, 2001 - Fiji Times)---Charles Chambers George Speight was yesterday hailed as a patriot who should be tried by a Fijian court system.

Lawyer Navin Naidu said Speight should not face trial in the Magistrates Court.

He flew into the country last night and was met by Maika Nacolauli, a brother of Nukulau prisoner Simione Drole, and some locals.

Mr. Naidu ruled out a hefty pay packet as the reason for taking on the case, saying he was here "to defend a Christian brother."

The Singapore-born lawyer studied in India and England before moving to Seattle in the United States, where he works.

Mr. Naidu said he spoke to Speight last week by telephone, the first time they had ever spoken, and did not hesitate to defend him when asked.

"We talked briefly and there are some issues that need to be addressed," he said.

"I mean the whole world looks at him as being a criminal, but I look at him as a patriot."

Mr. Naidu specializes in constitutional law.

He will apply for a temporary admission to the bar, adding, "It would be unethical for me to say anything which is not professional."

He is a minister of religion and felt it was incumbent on himself that if a Christian was in trouble, "the church has to stand up and defend their people."

"I want to make sure that God’s word is done and completed and justice is served," Mr. Naidu.

He said he had visited Fiji on two previous occasions on different issues.

"I was introduced to the family and we talked and I felt there were some issues here which the world was not aware of," Mr. Naidu said.

"Legal doctrines would have to be tested and land mines we need to walk over."

He said the Speight case would create world attention.

On which angle he would tackle the case; Mr. Naidu said he knew a little through newspaper reports.

Mr. Naidu was a former airline pilot and specialized in Ecclesiastical Law.

"I handle constitutional cases and ecclesiastical matters in cases between the state and the church."

Mr. Naidu is married and has three children.

For additional reports from the Fiji Times, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Fiji Times.

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