Nauru bringing in Australian judge for 'riot' trial

The Nauru government has announced it will appoint an outside judge to hear the trial of 16 people defending charges over an anti-government protest in June 2015.

The Nauru justice minister, David Adeang, in a statement to parliament, said that, because of the number of defendants, the complexity and likely length of the trial, they will appoint an acting judge just for this case.

He said that judge would be a recently retired Australian Supreme Court or Federal Court judge.

Mr Adeang, who continues to call the protest a 'riot' said the government will be seeking recommendations from the Australian Bar Association on possible judges.

He said this was not a slight on the Nauru judiciary, rather, since some of the defendants were politicians, it followed the Australian precedent to avoid any suggestion of political interference or bias in the conduct of the trial.

Reports from Nauru suggest Mr Adeang had been called on by both prosecution and defence lawyers to bring in an outside judge.

This followed the engagement of leading Australian law firm Ashurst to handle the prosecution.

The defendants were also relying on a team of Australian lawyers.