Subject: Darwin woman to face East Timor trial

Darwin woman to face East Timor trial

Adam Gartrell

July 10, 2009 - 11:09AM

Lawyers for a Darwin woman who will face trial next week accused of conspiring to assassinate East Timor's top political leaders have called on prosecutors to abandon their "hopelessly inadequate" case.

Angelita Pires, a dual citizen of Australia and East Timor, will face trial on Monday - alongside 27 others - over the attacks on President Jose Ramos Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao in February 2008.

Pires, 43, was then the lover of rebel leader Alfredo Reinado, who was shot dead in an ambush that left Ramos Horta critically wounded.

Prosecutors are expected to allege Pires urged Reinado to kill Ramos Horta and Gusmao, who escaped the attacks unharmed.

Pires maintains her innocence. Pires' Australian lawyer, Jon Tippett, QC, says the case against his client remains "hopelessly inadequate and unfounded".

"It's our view that the evidence is so lacking in integrity and cogency that the case simply cannot succeed," Mr Tippett told AAP.

"We would expect any reasonable prosecutor, aware of the nature of the case against Ms Pires, to act in accordance with both justice and law, and withdraw it.

"But we have no indication that that will take place.

"Quite to the contrary, the indication is the prosecution will continue to press what, in my opinion, is an unsustainable case."

Pires' legal team will seek to have much of the state's evidence deemed inadmissible, he said.

"This case should have stopped a long time ago and it should stop on Monday."

Antonio Pires, Angelita's brother, said the family had no confidence in East Timor's legal system.

"We're very concerned that Angie will not get a fair trial," he said from Darwin.

"We're also upset because we can't go over there. We fear for our own safety, so we can't go and support her."

The trial, before a panel of three judges, is expected to last at least several months.

<news.theage.com.au/action/displayCopyrightNotice?sourceOrganisation=AAP> AAP


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