Man Denies Sexual Assault Claim
A man on trial for allegedly sexually assaulting a 21-year-old woman said he never touched her.
Jope Vakaloloma who is on trial at the High Court in Suva before Judge Justice Vincent Perera for one sexual assault charge, took the stand yesterday.
He is charged alongside two others, Semi Benjamin and Vero Vakariri, who are also on trial for the alleged sexual attack on the same victim.
Benjamin is charged with three counts of rape and one count of sexual assault.
Vakariri is charged with one count each of rape and sexual assault and Vakaloloma is charged with sexual assault.
The alleged incident occurred on October 25, 2015.
All three accused had pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Benjamin is represented by Lavinia David, Vakariri and Vakaloloma are represented by Karen Boseiwaqa.
The state is represented by Shirley Tivao and Swastika Sharma.
Defence witness: Vakaloloma
Vakaloloma told the court that after he smoked marijuana, he went inside the house to use the toilet. As he came out, he saw the complainant lying on the bed.
“I could see that she was feeling weak and I felt sorry for her so I went into the room,” he said.
Ms Boseiwaqa further questioned him about what transpired next in the room.
He said that he only asked the complainant questions about how she knew Benjamin, her name, her age and the school she was attending.
Vakaloloma told the court that while they were talking, the complainant moved closer to him and touched his thigh and head.
“I just sat there looking at her because I don’t know her and I have a girlfriend who is much prettier than her,” he said.
He said under examination that he was made aware of the allegations against him two days later, when some Police officers came looking for him and Vakariri at Nasole.
He further told the court that the officers told him that he had to go to the Valelevu Police Station the next day to give a statement as they were going to be witnesses, to confirm that the complainant went to Nasole with Benjamin.
Vakaloloma said that when he went to the station the next day, he was told instead that he was charged with indecent assault.
“Firstly, I was angry because I was told that I will be a witness, and then later I was charged.
“I felt ashamed because I have a girlfriend whom I was staying with and I didn’t know what she would think once she heard about the charge,” said Vakaloloma.
The case continues today.
Edited by Caroline Ratucadra