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Accused Tells Court He Acted In Self Defence

Accused Tells Court He Acted In Self Defence
July 20
10:30 2017

A 39-year-old man charged with the manslaughter of his younger brother over a bowl of dhal told the court that he never meant him harm.

Accused, Aisake Vana Junior was on trial at the High Court in Suva this week.

He appeared before judge Judge Justice Vincent Perera.

Defence lawyer Nemani Tuifagalele in his opening statement  on Tuesday said that this case was one of those ‘unfortunate family feuds’.

He said his client’s action was not deliberate.

Mr Tuifagalele further told the court that the accused had never intended to kill his brother.

It is alleged that Junior on April 5, 2016 at Nasinu had an argument with his younger brother Suliasi Veisere over a bowl of dhal.

The younger brother allegedly threw a punch at the accused before he was allegedly stabbed in retaliation.


Junior’s testimony

Mr Tuifagalele asked Junior to tell the court what had happened on the day of the alleged incident.

Junior told the court that after doing his washing and cleaning up outside, he went into the house and started cooking rice and dhal.

He further stated that while he was cooking, his younger brother Veisere (deceased) woke up and was fixing the television.

Junior said: “Then he saw the dhal that I was frying and started swearing at me.”

Mr Tuifagalele asked Junior why the deceased swore at him, to which he said that he was angry about the dhal menu.

He said: “He was swearing at me, but I never swore back at him. I told him to stop swearing, but he continued and then he ran towards me while I was standing in the kitchen.

“He started punching me. I wanted to defend myself from his punches.

“I didn’t know the knife was in my hand and we were punching each other inside the sitting room. My father woke up and stopped us.

“I tried to go outside, but my younger brother pulled me back inside, but I forced myself to go outside.

“I managed to free myself and I could feel that he had banged himself on the side of the door and fell down.”

Junior further told the court that he had gone to the back of Ruci’s house and had asked her about his father’s whereabouts.

He was told that his father had gone in a taxi.

The accused said: “I was totally lost at that time and I went to my friend, Paula’s house.

“While I was there, my sister came in the evening and told me that my brother had passed away.

“I couldn’t believe that he would die and I started crying.”

During cross-examination, state prosecutor Juleen Fatiaki, put it to Junior that what he had told to the Police was a lie as he did not agree with the caution interview statement.

Junior said: “According to what I heard yesterday (Monday) some of the things they were saying, I did not say it.”

Ms Fatiaki further suggested to Junior that the incident was not an accident, but a willed act, to which he said ‘no’.

“I just came to tell the truth about what had happened that day. I was shocked that the knife had hurt him because I didn’t know that he would die,” Junior said.

Defence and prosecution lawyers delivered their closing submissions and summing up by the judge yesterday.

Edited by Caroline Ratucadra



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