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Bulitavu Had No Hand in Spray Painting: Witness

Bulitavu Had No Hand in Spray Painting: Witness
Opposition Member of Parliament Mosese Bulitavu outside court on May 16, 2017. Photo: Ronald Kumar
May 17
11:00 2017

A State witness said yesterday Mosese Bulitavu had no hand in the 2011 spray painting or graffiti on billboards, buses and walls along the Suva to Nausori corridor.

This was agreed to by the first State witness, Usaia Koroi, after he was asked by Bulitavu’s lawyer, Barbara Malimali, if Bulitavu had ever sat with them to plan a conspiracy of spray painting words such as ‘AG out’ or ‘PM Out’ in 2011.

The trial for Bulitavu, along with businessman, Jagath Karunaratne, who are charged with spreading seditious comments in public, started before Magistrate Deepika Prakash.

Karunaratne is represented by Aman Ravindra-Singh.

Responding to questions also by state lawyer, Michael Delany, Mr Koroi said the instructions to write the words in public had come from his operations manager, Eperama Rokotakala, and was executed by him and his colleague at night.

Mr Koroi, who was also charged with the same but turned state witness and was granted immunity, told the court that whatever he had written on the billboards, buses and walls was given to him in writing in a piece of paper by Mr Rokotakala.

He said the reason for acting upon instruction was also to call for a democracy in the country and elections.

When Mr Koroi was asked by Mr Delany if he had ever met and spoken to Bulitavu, Mr Koroi said he had seen him at the Worker Film in Raiwaqa and also when he went to Labasa for work.

As for Karunaratne, Mr Ravindra-Singh said Mr Koroi had agreed that he had taken a ride with Karunaratne on the day before he went out spray painting. However, along with him was Mr Rokotakala and one more companion, Eroni Takape, and their conversations were in complete iTaukei.

Mr Ravindra-Singh said, therefore, his client had no knowledge of the language and he knew nothing of the conversation.

Defence lawyer Malimali applied the Executive Authority Of Fiji Decree 2009 under clause three, which stated: “3. The President shall be the Head of the State, Commander in Chief of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces and Head of any Government appointed under this Decree, as may be amended from time to time.”

Therefore, she told the court that the President at that time was Ratu Joseva Iloilovatu Uluivuda, who was also the head of Government and the Commander in Chief of the Republic of the Fiji Military Forces accordingly.

Therefore, she claimed that the spray paintings did not mean anything against the Government.

The trial of the two accused continues today where the second state witness will be examined.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback:  arishma.narayan@fijisun.com.fj

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May 2017
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