Controversial trial of Nauru 19 about to open

The trial of the group called the Nauru 19 is expected to finally get underway this week, more than four years since the alleged offences occurred.

And the group, which now numbers 15, will be facing the court without legal representation.

The Nauru 19 were involved in an anti-government protest in June 2015 and have been put through a convoluted legal process ever since.

Last year, an Australian appointed as judge, Justice Geof Muecke, granted them a permanent stay, saying the group's judicial rights had been abused by the then Nauru Government.

The government had refused them proper legal aid and placed them on a blacklist, ensuring they would struggle to find work.

Judge Muecke's contract was later cancelled and the pernament stay removed.

The group last week sought unsuccessfully for the stay to be re-instated.

Now they will face former controversial Fiji chief justice Daniel Fatiaki without their Austrlian legal team, which is no longer able to provide representation pro bono.

Justice Fatiaki appointed the Nauru public defender on Friday to represent all 15 of the accused.