NATION

Highlands Tragedy: New Zealand Bus Driver Faces 5 Counts of Murder, 1 Attempted Murder

Mohammed Raheesh Ioosuf, 62, of Christchurch appeared before Magistrate Nirosha Kannangara facing murder charges and one attempted murder charge.
17 Sep 2019 11:00
Highlands Tragedy: New Zealand Bus Driver Faces 5 Counts of Murder, 1 Attempted Murder

A New Zealand bus driver appeared in the Nadi Magistrates Court yesterday charged with five counts of murder.

Nirmal Kumar, 63, his wife Usha Devi, 54, their daughter Usha Devi and her two daughters Sana, 11 and Samairah 8 of Legalega in Nadi were found dead at a remote location in the Nausori Highlands on August 26.

Mohammed Raheesh Ioosuf, 62, of Christchurch appeared before Magistrate Nirosha Kannangara facing murder charges and one attempted murder charge. The deceased couple’s one-year-old granddaughter was found alive at the scene.

About 200 people packed outside the courthouse to get a glimpse of Ioosuf who arrived under heavy Police escort.

He was initially taken in for questioning, but was released by the Lautoka High Court last week because of the expiry of the 48 hour time limit Police were allowed to hold a suspect for questioning.

Police prosecutor Inspector Parmesh Chand objected to bail saying the accused had tried to leave the country following the discovery of the bodies before the date of his scheduled departure.

Inspector Chand said the case was serious and Police had strong evidence that tied Ioosuf to the alleged murder.

Ioosuf was a neighbour of the deceased people.

Defence lawyer Iqbal Khan, assisted by Sabrina Khan refuted Police having strong evidence saying they were only circumstantial.

“My client has denied all that has been noted in the caution interview,” Mr Khan said.

“All objections to bail can be cured by the court issuing strict bail conditions.”

Mr Khan said Ioosuf already had a stop departure order against him and his passport was with Police.

Mr Khan said Police had no eye witnesses and he failed to see how they could have a strong case.

He added that soon after the bodies were discovered, Ioosuf made his way to the Police Station to inform them that he was the one who had dropped them there.

The matter has been adjourned to September 25 where Ioosuf will appear at the Lautoka High Court.

Edited by Percy Kean

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