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Murder, Rape Accused To Take Witness Stand Today

Murder, Rape Accused To Take Witness Stand Today
Rape and murder accused Josua Colanaudolu at Suva Court House holding cell on May 16, 2017. Photo: Ronald Kumar.
May 19
11:00 2017

Josua Colanaudolu, who is on trial for murder, multiple rapes and abduction, will be taking the witness stand today at the High Court in Suva.

Colanaudolu is on trial before Justice Salesi Temo.

A reconstruction video of the crime scene was shown in open court yesterday.

It showed Colanaudolu taking Police officers to the scene where he had allegedly abducted victim, Mere Ailevu (deceased), to the place he had raped her.

The video further showed where the accused allegedly dumped Mere’s body and which villager’s bathroom he had used to wash her blood from his hands and pants.

 

The charges:

The court has heard that there were four victims in the case, including the deceased.

For the first victim, Colanaudolu faces two counts of abduction which is alleged to have taken place 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 is alleged to have happened between March 13 and 14, 2016.

 

Prosecution witness: Justice of Peace Ashok Bali

Mr Bali told the court that he was asked by a Police officer on March 30, 2016, to question Colanaudolu at the Navua Police Station.

State lawyer Sujata Lodhia asked Mr Bali what questions he was told to ask Colanaudolu.

Mr Bali said that he was told to ask Colanaudolu if he had committed the crime that he was charged with.

“I greeted him and introduced myself to him and I asked him why he was at the station.

“He said he was charged for three counts of rape and one count of murder, so I asked him if he had done it,” said Mr Bali.

Ms Lodhia further asked him what Colanaudolu’s reply was, to which he said ‘yes’.

Mr Bali told the court: “I asked him did the Police force you or was it at your own free will and he said ‘own free will’.”

Justice Temo said: “A JP’s job is to come and see if the suspect is being treated properly or not. Not to ask whether he committed the crime.”

Mr Bali said that the Police officers had asked him to ask Colanaudolu if he had committed the crime.

 

Prosecution witness: Dr Anasilini Tabua

Dr Tabua, who had examined Colanaudolu after he had made allegations of being assaulted by Police officers, said that the x-rays showed that everything was normal.

She said: “He had tenderness on his left chest with no bruises, pain on touch with no bruises, pain on touch on the left side of the hip with no bruises and redness of the eye.

“Chest x-ray was conducted and the result was normal, lung tissue was normal and facial x-ray was normal. No damage to the tissue and bone of the face.”

Defence lawyer, Michael Fesaitu, during cross examination asked Dr Tabua of her professional opinion regarding the tenderness noted in the medical report.

Dr Tabua said those injuries were more than five-days-old and further agreed that it could have been a possibility that the injuries were exactly 10-days-old.

Justice Temo asked Dr Tabua what would she had expected if the Police officers had repeatedly punched Colanaudolu.

“If the punch to the face is that strong the face would be swollen, there would be bruising or a scratch or a cut.

“If x-rayed, there would be a bone fracture,” said Dr Tabua.

Justice Temo further asked if she had seen the above mentioned injuries on Colanaudolu, to which she replied ‘No’.

 

Evidence

The prosecution relies on the evidence of their 23 witnesses who had taken the stand to give evidence.

The defence will be starting their case today with Colanaudolu who will be giving evidence along with two other witnesses.

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

Edited by Caroline Ratucadra

Feedback: jessica.gounder@fijisun.com.fj

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