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Singh Disapproves Of Two Elements In Case

Singh Disapproves Of Two Elements In Case
Judge holding gavel, close-up. Image shot 2011. Exact date unknown....C76JWT Judge holding gavel, close-up. Image shot 2011. Exact date unknown.
November 09
11:34 2017

Defence lawyer Aman Ravindra-Singh submitted in the Suva Magistrates Court yesterday that the State had not proved the two elements in the case against his client businessman Jagath Karunaratne.

While making his closing address Mr Singh said the prosecution had presented evidence from three men who were initially arrested alongside Karunaratne however they were granted immunity in exchange for their evidence.

Mr Singh stated that the three prosecution witnesses told the Court how they were involved in meetings and planning and executing the act of spray painting.

He said it was important to note that the leader of the act was a person by the name Eparama Rokotakala who was mentioned throughout the prosecution’s case.

“Firstly Eparama Rokotakala is a mystery to this case. His presence is currently unknown,” Mr Singh said.

“We know that he has never been charged and he remains unknown but from the evidence adduced by prosecution it is very clear and plain that this was the person who was the ringleader, who was organising, directing and planning the activity of spray painting.”

He said at no point during their evidence did the three men mention Karunaratne’s involvement in the alleged act.

“There’s no direct evidence that Mr Karunaratne was involved with prosecution witness 1, 2 and 3 on any occasion whereby spray painting had been done whether it was on signage between Nausori and Suva, whether it was on billboards or whether it was on a moving vehicle,” he said.

Suva lawyer Barbara Malimali made similar submissions in her closing address for her client and Karunaratne’s co-accused Mosese Bulitavu.

Ms Malimali submitted that Bulitavu had strong convictions about the principles under which Fiji should be governed.

She said those were his beliefs and all constitutions had allowed Fijians to have these beliefs and his beliefs had not changed as he had consistently expressed them in private and also within the confines of Parliament.

She said Bulitavu was of the belief that Fiji should be governed under God with reverence for God first.

“My friends the Prosecution in order to ask your worship to convict Mosese Bulitavu have to show that he had both the actus reus (physical element) and the mens rea (mental element),” Ms Malimali said.

She said the State’s case was that the accused men were not the one holding the spraying cans but that the three witnesses were.

Ms Malimali said the defence was unsure under which principle the two accused men were charged either as joint enterprise or as principles of secondary offenders as it had not come out in the State’s evidence.

She said the State was alleging that her client had instructed the three men to spray paint.

“The particular of the offence says he did an act namely the spray painting of words however they have maintained throughout that Mosese Bulitavu never held a spray can and painted anything,” Ms Malimali said.

Furthermore she said the three witnesses revealed that they carried out the spray painting under the instructions of the Operations Manager of Walker Films Eparama Rokotakala.

The case was adjourned to a later date for judgment.

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