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Colanaudolu’s Caution Interview Read In Court

Colanaudolu’s Caution Interview Read In Court
Rape and murder accused Josua Colanaudolu at Suva Court House holding cell on May 16, 2017. Photo: Ronald Kumar.
May 18
10:50 2017

The caution interview of Josua Colanaudolu was read out in court yesterday by investigating officers.

Colanaudolu is on trial for murder, multiple rape and abduction before Justice Salesi Temo at the High Court in Suva.

Prosecution witness, Detective Tuaci Tasoqosoqo told the court that Colanaudolu allegedly informed Police that he wanted time to go and ask forgiveness from Mere Ailevu’s family for raping and murdering her.

Colanaudolu also claimed in his caution interview statement that the first victim was his former girlfriend, with whom he had consensual sex.

 

The charges:

The court heard that there were four victims in the matter, including the deceased Mere Ailevu.

For the first victim, Colanaudolu faces two counts of abduction which is alleged to have happened between January 1, 1998 and February 31, 2001.

For the same victim, he is charged with two counts of rape.

In the case of the second victim, Colanaudolu is charged with one count each of abduction, rape and indecently annoying females. These charges relate to incidents that are alleged to have taken place between June 1, 2002 and December 31, 2004.

In the case of the third victim, Colanaudolu faces one count of rape, which is alleged to have taken place on November 16, 2012.

The fourth victim in the matter is Mere Ailevu.

In her case, Colanaudolu faces two counts of rape, one each of abduction and murder.

According to particulars read out in court, the incident was alleged to have happened between March 13 and 14, 2016.

 

Prosecution witness: Detective Tuaci Tasoqosoqo

Detective Tasoqosoqo told the court that after the morning devotion on March 26, last year, Colanaudolu had allegedly confessed to raping and murdering Mere.

“Colanaudolu stood up sought forgiveness and confessed to the offence he committed on Mere,” he said.

During the caution interview, Colanaudolu made alleged confessions that he was drunk on March 13, 2016, as he was drinking the whole day.

It was further read out in court that when he was passing a church he allegedly saw the shadow of a girl and when the girl saw him, she stood up and he had seized her.

The caution interview alleged  that Colanaudolu at that time did not know who the girl was as it was dark.

The court heard that he only came to know that it was Mere when he crossed the road carrying her and a car light had shone on her.

“I grabbed her neck with the singlet and she wanted to scream, but I choked her and carried her to the other side of the road and threw her over the fence towards the beach,” he was alleged to have said.

“I hit her head with my left hand and continued to hold her neck strongly and then I took her to the beach where I raped her.”

The caution interview further alleged that Mere was further raped, ‘she moved a bit’, and then ‘stopped moving’.

“I would like to seek forgiveness from Mere’s family.

“I have regretted what I did to Mere and her family and I would like to be given time to go and apologise to Mere’s family,” the caution interview statement was read out in open court.

Detective Tasoqosoqo further said that Colanaudolu allegedly said he had covered Mere’s face and head with her ‘singlet’ so that she would not recognise him.

He also allegedly stated that after he performed the alleged acts he left thinking that the cold breeze would wake her up and she would return home.

It was further stated that he had allegedly washed his hands and pants at a villager’s bathroom because he was covered in Mere’s blood.

During cross examination defence lawyer, Lavinia David suggested to Detective Tasoqosoqo that Colanaudolu was not part of the morning devotion to which he replied, that he was.

 

Prosecution witness: Detective Simione Nakuna

Detective Nakuna had cautioned interviewed Colanaudolu regarding the rape and abduction of victim one, two and three.

During the caution interview, it is alleged that Colanaudolu confessed to the charges against him, and he also said that the first victim was his former girlfriend before marriage and that they used to plan on where to meet for sex.

State lawyer Sujata Lodhia asked Detective Nakuna about Colanaudolu’s alleged confession regarding the second victim to which he said that Colanaudolu allegedly said that he had consensual sex with her.

However, in the caution interview there were admissions by Colanaudolu that he had forced the third victim to have sex with him.

Mr Nakuna said that for most of the answers Colanaudolu chose to remain silent and when asked why, Colanaudolu said “I will tell my story in court when my lawyer is representing me.”

During cross examination Ms David suggested to Detective Nakuna that while the caution interview was being conducted some officers had entered the room and threatened Colanaudolu.

In reply, Detective Nakuna said no officer had threatened the accused.

Ms David further suggested that the answers in the caution interview statements were fabricated upon the liking of the officer, to which he said no.

Colanaudolu is represented by Ms David and Michael Fesaitu while the state prosecution is represented by Assistant DPP Lee Burney and Ms Lodhia.

More Police officers will be giving their evidence in court today.

Edited by Caroline Ratucadra

Feedback: jessica.gounder@fijisun.com.fj

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