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Magistrate Has No Option But To Grant Bail.

Magistrate Has No Option But To Grant Bail.
The four accused (from left) Umesh Chand, Etuate Sauturaga, Shalendra Sen Sinha and Imitiaz Imran Ali outside the Magistrates Court in Lautoka on March 6, 2018. Photo: Arieta Vakasukawaqa
March 08
11:00 2018

Four men charged with one count each of obtaining property worth $31,345 by deception were granted bail by the Magistrate’s Court in Lautoka on Tuesday.

In his ruling, Magistrate Mosese Naivalu if he didn’t grant bail for the four accused then he would be in breach of the Constitution.

“The accused persons haven’t been charged with the current offence which is pending for investigations. I will have to grant bail for this case before me,” Mr Naivalu said.

Defence lawyer Iqbal Khan claimed that Police had breached the Constitution, which was the supreme law of the land, by detaining the four accused for more than 48 hours. He told the court that police had failed to follow procedure to seek extension from the high court for the four accused to be further detained.

Mr Khan said: “The prosecution wants to come and criticise the accused persons but the Police aren’t following the law. The law is clear.

“They are charged and released within the next 48 hours but they have been detained for 120 hours, the police didn’t come here with clean hands.

“If the court allows this to happen then the police will keep on doing this, how can they breach the Constitution.”

Divisional Prosecuting Officer Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Anil Prasad objected to bail and asked that the four accused be remanded in Police custody for a period of seven days.

ASP Prasad said this would allow Police to further investigate another case involving $251,000. The Police are still trying to recover the items involved.

The four accused are, Shalendra Sen Sinha, 39, of Saweni;   Etuate Sauturaga, 41,  of Nabua;  Umesh Chand, 38, and Imitiaz Imran Ali, 37, of Viseisei.

It is alleged that between December 1 last year and March 1 this year the four accused, through fraudulent activities, obtained the following items from Nausori Meat Company Limited:

– 110 bags of chicken # 17 worth $16,335;

– Four cartons of chicken breasts worth $4480;

– 15 bags of 20 kilograms lamb chops worth $5250;

– 13 bags of 20 kilograms lamb chops worth $4290; and

– Three bags of 20 kilogram lamb chops worth $990.

Police have managed to recover $7382.35 worth of frozen goods in which the court has ordered that it be returned to its rightful owner.

He also told the court that one of the accused had breached conditions in one of his previous convictions, which was a serious matter that needed to be considered.

ASP Prasad added another accused had a pending matter in court and majority of the offences were fraudulent conducts.

He said one of the accused was previously charged with rape and counterfeit notes where he didn’t follow the bail conditions.

“This is of public interest. We need to protect our communities in particular our business communities, they need to be kept in a confined place away from society, to be remanded in police custody while we carry out investigations,” ASP Prasad.

He also told the court that the four accused have confessed to admitting the act.

ASP Prasad said if the four accused were granted in bail it would be difficult for Police to conduct their investigations because they would be scattered.

In response, ASP Prasad said the pPolice did their work which was in line with the Constitution.

Magistrate Naivalu then questioned Police if it ever came to their minds that the 48 hours was coming to an end and that they needed to seek extension in court. He said this decision was within the jurisdiction of the High Court.

“I don’t want to be lambasted by the High Court. As soon as the 48 hours ends run to the High Court and try to always be on the safe side. The longer you keep them in custody it stretches,” he told prosecution.

Magistrate Naivalu then ordered for the court sitting to be stood down while he sought advice on the ruling. He then granted bail of $3000 each to the four accused. The case has been adjourned to April 30. Plea has been deferred.

The court has ordered that the four accused to be arrested the same day for police to carry out their investigations on another offense relating to $251,000.

Edited by George Kulamaiwasa

Feedback:  arieta.vakasukawaqa@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

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