Speight agrees to bypass preliminary hearing for treason | Asia Pacific

Speight agrees to bypass preliminary hearing for treason

Speight agrees to bypass preliminary hearing for treason

Updated 19 March 2012, 18:55 AEDT

The treason trial of Fiji's failed coup leader George Speight will finally get underway on August the 31st - halfway through the country's general elections, designed to restore the democracy he overthrew in May last year.

In a surprise deal in Suva today, prosecutors and defence lawyers for Speight and his 12 co-accused, agreed to bypass a preliminary hearing and proceed directly to trial. Speight does not deny leading the coup but claims the army promised him immunity, in return for releasing his 50 or so hostages. Prosecutors say however, Speight breached the deal by not handing in all the weapons. Sean Dorney reports on the new tack the Speight defence is taking.

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