Fiji Sun » Fiji Court Leading Fiji newspaper for Fiji News, Sport and Pacific news Fri, 05 Jul 2019 05:29:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Govt Works With Corporate Sector To Promote Nutrition, Physical Wellness Mon, 14 Jan 2019 00:12:48 +0000 Encouraging healthy lifestyles among the Fijian people through the public-private partnership reached another milestone at the weekend.

The Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete highlighted this development during the launch of Courts Health and Wellness month at Courts Nakasi, on Saturday.

Dr Waqainabete said the fight against Non-Communicable Disease (NCDs) was a battle which could not be fought alone.

“It needs a collaborative partnership between nations, communities, Government and the corporate sector, non-government organisations, faith-based oganisation, corporate sector organisations, between the education and health sector and also within our families,” Dr Waqainabete said.

“The Government, through the Ministry of Health and Medical Services continues to nurture a multispectral collaboration on our war against NCDs in Fiji.

“One approach is through intergovernmental approach to strengthen network and support; and the others through public private and collaboration with other sectors like faith-based organisations and corporate organisations.

“This launching is an excellent example of a collaboration between Government and corporate sector to promote nutrition and physical wellness.”

This is the Ministry of Health and Medical Services third year of supporting the initiative because it complements the ministry’s objective in terms of eradicating NCD’s through educating people and getting them to take responsibility of their health.

The four major types of Non-Communicable Diseases are cardiovascular diseases (such as heart attacks and stroke), cancers and chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma and diabetes.
The youngest diabetic patient in Fiji is a 12-year-old.

Courts chief executive officer PL Munasinghe said the objectives of the Health and Wellness Programme was twofold.

“One is to create awareness to make people realise that NCDs can be avoided by making the right choices and secondly, encourage people to take regular medicinal tests for early detection of the onset of NCDs,” he said.

“In April we will commence our company’s – “Health is Wealth – Wellness Programme.”

It has a three-pronged objective:

 Optimising body weight: They will measure the weight of each of the company staff member on a regular basis and provide ongoing advice to optimise weight and Body Mass Index (BMI).

 Providing instructions on good diet: Primarily these instructions will centre on reducing the three deadly whites from the diet; sugar, salt and starch.

 Instructions on the benefits of undertaking a regular form of exercise. Edited by Percy Kean


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$4 Million Thief Katia Gets 23 Years Fri, 28 Dec 2018 21:00:51 +0000 Justice Temo: Greed was your motivation and you will have to learn that greed does not pay.


Viliame Katia will spend 23 years in jail for corrupt-related offences, following a judgement made yesterday by High Court judge Justice Salesi Temo.

The judgement is believed to be one of the harshest sentences as far as corruption cases are concerned.

Katia is charged by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) with three counts of abuse of office for gain, four counts of forgery, one count of embezzlement by servant, one count of false information to public servant, one count of unauthorised modification of data and one count of obtaining financial advantage amounting to more than $4 million.

While sentencing Katia, Justice Temo said: “You literally stabbed your employer in the back by stealing $4 million plus from it.”

Katia is sentenced to 23 years imprisonment with a non-parole period of 22 years for stealing more than $4 million for more than eight years of his employment.

Particulars of offence:

Katia had abused the authority of his office by making payments to himself between July 1, 2008 to January 14, 2016, while he was employed in the Public Service and involved a sum of $4,119,447.43. He had created false emails and internal memos stating creditors were willing to accept reduced payments from their bankrupt debtors.

These payments were then sent from the official receiver’s bankruptcy account to his own.

Appeal against earlier sentence:

Katia, who was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment by the Nausori Magistrates Court, had appealed against his sentence, which was dismissed by Justice Temo.

FICAC had also appealed against Katia’s sentence on the grounds that the sentence was too lenient, which Justice Temo had ruled in favour of.

Yesterday’s ruling:

Justice Temo said the level of deceit and evil Katia had perpetuated among his co-workers and supervisors to steal the money was the height of all evil.

“You smiled at them and behind their backs, stole the $4 million plus. You made a mockery of not only the Official Receiver’s Office but also the High Court, by pretending to be a judge issuing court orders. You had made no restitution or attempted to do the same. You have not explained where the money is, nor how it was used.

“It appears you are willing to serve a short prison sentence, come out and enjoy the fruits of your crime. I need to punish you in a manner that is just in all the circumstances and in the interest of justice.

“The sentence is designed to punish you in a manner to protect the community from people like you, to deter other would-be offenders like you, and to signify that the court and community denounce what you did to the Official Receiver’s Office between July 1, 2008 and December 31, 2015,” Justice Temo said.

He also highlighted that the offence was a serious breach of employer’s trust.

“As an employee, you are supposed to be honest and hardworking to your employer. Your employer trusted you and promoted you to acting deputy official receiver on July 7, 2008. However, you stole $4 million from them.

“What you have done was unthinkable. In the past 24 years I had served on this bench, this is the first time I had witnessed a civil servant steal $4 million plus from a Government entity, for his own personal use. You had grossly abused the trust placed on you.

“You basically showed your co-workers and supervisors no mercy in engineering the 1,415 fraudulent transactions which enabled you to steal the $4 million plus from the employer.

“In a sense, you were like a computer virus to the Official Receiver’s computer system and office. You had not only undermined the Official Receiver, you had also undermined the permanent secretary and the Minister for Justice. You had also undermined the creditors whose $4m plus you stole.

“Greed was your motivation and you will have to learn that greed does not pay. I therefore plead with you not to complain when a lengthy prison sentence is given to you. Why should you benefit from the fruits of your crime when the majority of the people of Fiji were working honestly for their money?”

Katia has 30 days to lodge an appeal against his sentence to the Fiji Court of Appeal.

Edited by Naisa Koroi


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Man Jailed 17 Months For Burglary, Theft Wed, 19 Dec 2018 21:00:25 +0000  

A 19-year-old man has been sentenced to 17 months imprisonment for burglary and theft by the High Court.

Jayden Singh was charged and had pleaded guilty to one count of burglary and theft.

On January 19, 2018, Singh entered into the property of Salendra Kumar as a trespasser with the intent to commit theft.

On that day, Singh dishonestly appropriated one wrist watch Citizen brand, one Samsung mobile phone, one Samsung laptop, two hard drives, one mobile charger, three bottles of perfume, one USB, one laptop bag, $500 cash, with the intention to permanently deprive the complainant.

While sentencing, Suva High Court Judge Justice Thushara Rajasinghe said the offence of burglary was a serious offence.

“This is a case where you have entered into the house of the complainant in the night, when the occupants in the house were sleeping,” Justice Rajasinghe said.

“Burglars invade the space of others’ freedom in order to steal from them.

“The offence of burglary is one of the dangerous forms of property crime as the offender can create fear and insecurity among the people.

“Thus, the purpose of this sentence is found on the principal of deterrence and protection of the community.

“I am mindful of the principal of rehabilitation, however, it is my opinion that the need of deterrence outweighs the principal of rehabilitation,” Justice Rajasinghe said.

Singh was given 30 days to appeal to the Fiji Court of Appeal.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa


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Cultivation Trial Starts In High Court Mon, 08 Oct 2018 22:05:24 +0000 The trial for two Ka­davu men charged with the cultivation of illicit drugs started yes­terday in the High Court in Suva.

Amani Masikerei, 25, and Samuela Natokalau, 23, are charged with one count each of unlawful cultiva­tion of illicit drugs.

They appeared before Jus­tice Daniel Goundar.

The two men earlier plead­ed not guilty to the charge.

Their cultivation activities came to the attention of the Police on January 13, 2018.

They are alleged to have cultivated 1440 plants, which is equivalent to 1046.8 kilograms of canna­bis sativa namely marijua­na in Kadavu.

Edited by Epineri Vula

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Man Admits Electoral Offences Mon, 08 Oct 2018 21:41:39 +0000 A man charged with committing elector­al offences pleaded guilty in the Suva Magis­trates Court yesterday.

Rajnil Pratap Sobha ap­peared before Magistrate Liyanage Wickramasekara.

Sobha pleaded guilty to one count each of false declaration on an applica­tion for voter registration, false declaration on an ap­plication for replacement of electronic voter registra­tion card and applying to be registered as a voter on more than one occasion.

He was charged by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FI­CAC) in June this year un­der the Electoral Act of 2014 and the Electoral (Registra­tion of Voters) Act of 2012.

FICAC lawyer Laite Bo­kini read out the Summary of Facts before Magistrate Wickramasekara.

For the count of false declaration on an applica­tion for voter registration, Sobha – on or about July 18, 2017, in Ba – knowingly made false declarations on an application to register as voter form by filling in the form to state that his name was Rajneel Malhotra with the false date of birth of Au­gust 2, 1987, before submit­ting the form to the Fijian Elections Office officials for his registration to vote as Rajneel Malhotra with elec­tronic voter registration number 227782100198.

For the count of false dec­laration on an application for replacement of electron­ic voter registration card, Sobha – on or about June 10, 2017, in Nadi – knowingly made false declarations on an application for replace­ment of electronic voter registration card form by filling the form to state that his name was Rajneel Mal­hotra with the false date of birth of August 2, 1987, be­fore submitting the same to the Fijian Elections Office officials in order to be is­sued with an upgraded vot­er card 2.0 bearing the name Rajneel Malhotra with the false date of birth of Au­gust 2, 1987, and electronic voter registration number 227782100198.

For the count of applying to be registered as a voter on more than one occa­sion, Sobha – on or about October 31, 2017, in Suva – applied to be registered as a voter under the name of Rajnil Pratap Sobhha with voter rergistration number 026209223601 while already having been registered as Rajneel Malhotra with voter registration number 227782100198. The matter was adjourned to October 22, 2018, for the filing of sen­tencing and mitigation sub­missions before Magistrate Wickramasekara.

Edited by Epineri Vula


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Mother Of Four Convicted of manslaughter Mon, 24 Sep 2018 22:06:56 +0000 The husband of a woman con­victed of manslaughter was told by the High Court in Suva yesterday that the Social Welfare De­partment would intervene if there was no one available to care for their four children.

Sangeeta Devi appeared before Jus­tice Vinsent Perera with her defence lawyer Mohammed Yunus. State law­yer Kesa Elo appeared for the prosecu­tion.

Devi was alleged to have murdered her new born child on January 9, 2016 at her home in Khalsa Road, New Town, Suva.

She was convicted for a lesser charge of manslaughter.

During sentence hearing Mr Yu­nus requested the court to consider the fact that the accused has four children aged seven, eight, 12 and 13 years old.

Mr Yunus pleaded for his client to be given a suspended sentence so she could care for them.

Ms Elo submitted the aggravating factors was the seriousness of the offence in that a life was lost and the child was vulnerable.

Ms Elo said it was the accused’s re­sponsibility as a mother to care for the child and it was never a choice to end the child’s life.

She said the accused lacked remorse when she said she did not know that she was pregnant and that she had de­livered a baby even after the doctors had told her otherwise.

Ms Elo pleaded with the court to take a starting point of eight years imprisonment when sentencing Devi.

Justice Perera said the accused was reckless because she did not seek medical attention, however he was not clear how the umbilical cord was severed and there was no evidence that Devi did the act purposefully.

The court heard that the child died from excessive blood loss.

Justice Perera gave time until 1pm today for both parties to make sub­missions whether manslaughter of a child should be treated more seri­ously than manslaughter of an adult.

The accused has been further re­manded in custody and her sentence will be delivered on September 27, 2018. Edited by Percy Kean


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Two Behind Bars For FRU Break-in, Theft Mon, 24 Sep 2018 22:04:40 +0000 Two men who pleaded guilty to breaking into the Fiji Rugby Union head of­fice and stealing assorted items were sentenced in the High Court in Suva yesterday.

Dhani Ram, 40, was ordered to serve eight months and one week in jail and the remainder of his three-year sentence was sus­pended for three years.

Ritesh Mani, 36, was sentenced to two years and eight months behind bars, which was partially suspended for three years. He will serve four months and one week of his sentence.

Passing sentence Justice Vin­sent Perera said there was a gross breach of trust between the two men, who were charged with aggravated burglary and theft, and the FRU.

On June 4, 2018, they stole a number of branded T-shirts, jackets, sweaters, pants and bags all to the total value of $818.35 from the FRU office in Suva.

They were carrying out main­tenance work at FRU when they committed the offence.

In mitigation, Mani submitted that he was married with four children and had entered an ear­ly guilty plea.

He said he was a first offender, was remorseful, had co-operated with Police and all items that were stolen were recovered.

Ram submitted that he had six children, was supporting his el­derly mother and was remorse­ful for his actions.

He added that he co-operated with Police and that all items stolen were recovered.

Justice Perera told them that aggravated burglary attracted a maximum sentence of 17 years and 10 years for theft.

State lawyer Zenith Zunaid ap­peared for the Prosecution while Nilesh Sharma represented Ram and Mani. Edited by Epineri Vula


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Stepfather In Rape Case Granted Bail Thu, 20 Sep 2018 23:02:26 +0000 A stepfather charged with sexual assault and rape was granted bail by the High Court in Suva yesterday.

The accused appeared before High Court judge Justice Riyaz Hamza yesterday.

He is charged with four counts of sexual assault and four counts of rape of his stepdaughter.

The alleged incidents occurred in May 2018 in Suva.

Justice Hamza while delivering his bail hearing judgement said the accused had been remanded in cus­tody since July 2018.

He noted that the accused and the complainant had a domestic rela­tionship and the complainant is the daughter of the accused’s de facto partner.

The accused also had previous convictions including two cases of indecent assault.

He was granted bail on the per­sonal bond of $1000 and two surety bonds of $1000 each.

Justice Hamza told the accused to reside with the second surety who is outside the Suva area.

Justice Hamza also imposed strict bail conditions and ordered the ac­cused to surrender his travel docu­ments and not to obtain any further travel documents.

The accused was told not to change his address and not to have any communication or contact with the complainant and the prosecution witnesses.

He was also ordered not to make contact with the complainant’s mother as she is the de facto part­ner of the accused and also a pros­ecution witness.

Justice Hamza also informed the accused that if he made any con­tact or communication with the complainant and the prosecution witnesses or missed his case, his bail order would be cancelled and the accused would be remanded in custody.

The matter was adjourned for a mention to October 29.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce


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18 Months Behind Bars For Robbery Thu, 20 Sep 2018 23:00:55 +0000 A man in his 20s convicted of one count of robbery yesterday was sentenced to 18 months in jail by the High Court in Suva.
Jone Delai appeared before Justice Chamath Morais.

In March 2018 in Nasinu, Delai robbed the complainant, Mohammed Nafiz, of a mobile phone valued at more than $300.
The complainant was talking to his father on the mobile phone while walking on the street when Delai forcefully grabbed the device and ran away.

Justice Morais noted that Delai was a first offender and had admitted in his caution interview that he was drunk at the time of the incident.

As a mitigating factor, Justice Morais noted that Delai was remorseful for the crime committed.
Justice Morais, while sentencing Delai, said: “The court has a responsibility to protecting the public from such behaviour.”
Delai was given 28 days to appeal.”


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DPP Will Appeal Sentence Of Rapist Stepfather Thu, 06 Sep 2018 03:17:03 +0000 The Director of Public Prosecutions, Christopher Pryde, will appeal the sentence imposed on a stepfather convicted and sentenced for rape on the grounds that the sentence of 14 years was manifestly lenient having regard to the facts and the circumstances of the case.

The 32-year-old man was convicted of three representative counts of rape and one count of act with intent to cause grievous harm to his 10-year-old stepdaughter in the High Court on 26 July 2018.

The Petition of Appeal was filed in the Court of Appeal Registry yesterday (5.9.18).

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Alleged $30K Robbers Remanded, Told To Get Lawyer Mon, 03 Sep 2018 23:39:54 +0000 Two men who allegedly broke into a businessman’s house and stole $30,000 have been further remanded by High Court in Labasa yesterday.

Jone Biu, 31, and Kalo Jeremaia, 34, appeared before Justice Chamath Morais.

They both said they wanted to seek assistance from the Legal Aid Commission.

Justice Morais advised them to sought help from the Legal Aid Commission on their bail application.

It is alleged that on August 4, the two broke into Chang Ching Tong’s house in Labasa Town and stole $30,000. Mr Tong is the owner of Kwong Tang Restaurant.

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Woman In Human Trafficking Case To Front Court Today Mon, 03 Sep 2018 23:34:40 +0000 A case of human trafficking allegedly involving 17 Fijian citizens is to be called to the High Court in Suva again today.

Seta Sanjana Ram, 31, appeared before Justice Daniel Goundar yesterday, but her case was stood down because of miscommunication between the court and the officers at the remand centre.

Ram’s case was called in before the scheduled time where she did not appear. She appeared before Justice Goundar after her case was called in where Justice Goundar adjourned her case to today for first call.

Ram is charged with trafficking in person, obtaining property by deception and money laundering jointly charged with her sister Geeta Anjana Chandar, who is residing in Australia.

The alleged offences took place between February 12, 2014 and March 20, 2017 and involved a sum of $52,142 from 17 complainants.

Both women are charged with 35 counts including two counts of money laundering where Chandar is alleged to have disposed $79,991.40 into a Bank South Pacific account and Ram allegedly disposed $2525 into two Australia and New Zealand bank accounts that were the proceeds of crime.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

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Two Cops Plead Not Guilty In Aggravated Robbery Charge Mon, 03 Sep 2018 23:12:22 +0000 Police officers Keperieli Ketewai and Luke Tavailai have pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated rob­bery.

Ketewai and Tavailai, who are jointly charged with Josaia Warodo, appeared before Justice Daniel Goundar in the High Court in Suva yester­day, each charged with one count of aggra­vated robbery.

It is alleged that on April 4, 2018, in Vunisea, Kada­vu, the three accused robbed the complain­ant’s as­sorted items all to the total value of $1580.

The state prosecutor told the court that Ketewai and Tavailai were suspended from Police duty.

Ketewai and Tavailai had pleaded not guilty to the offence, however, the second accused, Warodo had pleaded guilty.

The prosecutor had also informed the court that some of the stolen items such as the mobile phone and two bags of coins worth $50 and $100 was recovered.

The matter was adjourned for facts and mitigation for Warodo and hearing for grounds of objection for Ketewai and Ta­vailai.

The case was adjourned to September 17.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce


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Alleged Death Driver Case Moved To High Court Tue, 28 Aug 2018 00:34:33 +0000 A 30-year-old man was told yesterday to file his formal bail application in the Suva High Court.

Ratu Semi Kabakaba Degei appeared in the Nasinu Magistrates Court charged with causing the death of another 30-year-old man in Nakasi.

The accused appeared before Magistrate Sufia Hamza charged with one count of manslaughter, dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm and driving a motor vehicle with a concentration of alcohol in excess of the prescribed limit in his blood.

Police Prosecutor Sergeant Apenisa Keresoni served the accused with full phase disclosures and his right to counsel was read out to him in Court. Degei opted to be represented by the Legal Aid Commission.

Choosing his preferred language as English the charges were read out to him to which he confirmed that he understood.

On August 24, 2018 Degei allegedly drove a motor vehicle, registration number JN301, in a manner which was reckless and caused serious harm to Rajesh Chand which resulted in his death.

On that same day, the accused allegedly drove along Nakasi Road in a manner which was dangerous to the public and caused injuries to Kazal Kalpana Kumari.

It is alleged that a concentration of 110 milligrams of alcohol was present in 100 millilitres of his blood, which was in excess of the prescribed limit.

Sergeant Keresoni objected to the accused’s bail on the ground that the accused was charged with serious offences and the manslaughter charge against him was an indictable offence.

He then made an application to transfer the matter to the High Court in Suva where it will be called on September 6, 2018.

The accused tendered a letter in court asking for bail, however, he was advised by Magistrate Hamza to file a formal bail application in the High Court.

He has since been remanded in custody.

Edited by Percy Kean


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Bruises And Blood Found On Victim, Detective Tells Court In Evidence Mon, 28 May 2018 23:32:12 +0000 The detective who examined the lifeless body of Rajeshni Deo Sharma, 34, in her Rewa Street home on November 3, 2009, told the High Court in Suva yesterday that he found bruises on her neck.

State prosecutor Inspector Sakiusa Titoko told Justice Vinsent Perera during the trial that he also found bruise marks on Ms Sharma’s left jaw and blood below her head.

The accused, Imshad Ali, 38, who was in a de facto relationship with Ms Sharma in 2009, is alleged to have murdered her on November 3, 2009.

In his evidence Inspector Titoko mentioned that he also found blood stains below Ms Sharma’s legs and on the rug which she was lying on.

Inspector Titoko testified that at about 2:30pm on November 3, 2009, he was informed by his supervisor Detective Sergeant Petero Loli that there was an alleged murder case in Samabula which they had to attend to.

A three member group including Inspector Titoko then proceeded to the crime scene at Lot 204, Rewa Street, Samabula, Suva. Upon arrival at the scene he noticed Police officers conducting their investigations.

He was then briefed by a senior officer before he conducted a visual examination of the Police cordoned area. After his visual examination of the place, Inspector Titoko said photographs of the crime scene were taken both outside and inside the house, then he went about identifying items which could have contributed to the injuries on Ms Sharma’s body and which eventually led to her death.

Inspector Titoko testified that he found a white coloured electric kettle cord which was on the kitchen sink and a black lady’s hand bag in front of the kitchen door.

He said he also found a black wallet on top of the dining table and a metal chair which had fallen beside the deceased’s body.

Constable Alosio Paulo also testified in court yesterday that he received a call from the accused at around 8:30am on November 3, 2009, that the parents of the students who attended the kindergarten which was run by the deceased said it was locked.

He said the accused had called from Nadi and informed him that he left home for Nadi at around 4am on November 2, 2009.

Defence lawyer Abhay Singh put to Constable Paulo that when he spoke to the accused over the phone that morning, the accused was concerned about his home.

The witness agreed with Mr Singh that the accused had urgently wanted Police assistance to check why his wife was not answering his calls.

The accused is currently remanded. State lawyer Meli Vosawale is prosecuting the case. The trial continues in the High Court in Suva today. Edited by Caroline Ratucadra


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Sentence Hearing For Rape Accused Today Mon, 28 May 2018 23:12:50 +0000 A 73-year-old Tailevu man will have his sentence hearing today at the High Court in Suva after he was convicted of rape by Justice Riyaz Hamza.

The accused was charged with raping his 13-year-old granddaughter in August and October of 2015. He is charged with two counts of rape and was 70-years-old at the time while his granddaughter was in Year Eight.

During his closing address, Director of Public Prosecutions lawyer Taitusi Tuenuku said the notion that rape victims must shout, scream for help and fight back is not true.

He said different victims react differently to what is done to them, especially minors.

Mr Tuenuku said the accused’s granddaughter had testified that she was embarrassed because the accused was her own grandfather from her father’s side.

She said the accused showed her $5 while she was walking past his house, but she did not pay him any attention. Then he followed her to the pig pen where he again showed her the money before raping her.

The complainant said she was scared to tell her parents because people would find out and if the accused found out she feared for her life.

Mr Tuenuku told the assessors that based on the complainant’s detailed recollection of what happened to her, it indicated that she was telling the truth.

He said the complainant had testified that while her grandfather was raping her she told him to stop, but he ignored her and continued to rape her. He then threatened to chop her using a cane knife if she ever told anyone about what happened.

Legal Aid Commission lawyer Swarvana Prakash said just as there are two sides to a coin, there was also two sides to every story.

She said the complainant’s story was full of doubts and she should not be believed.

Ms Prakash said when a person is raped they are expected to cry out for help.

However in the present case the complainant did not cry for help because the offences did not happen. She said the complainant had multiple opportunities to escape, but she did not. Ms Prakash said the complainant’s reasoning were questionable.

She also highlighted the evidence of the doctor who examined the complainant. The doctor told the court that the girl’s hymen was not intact.

Ms Prakash said it was likely that her hymen was broken before the alleged incident happened. She added that no injuries were noted because the incidents never happened

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Ruling For Bail Appeal Set For April 11 Fri, 30 Mar 2018 23:57:58 +0000 The High Court in Suva will deliver its ruling on April 11, 2018, on the appeal advanced by the State on bail granted for two Cyprus nationals.

The accused men – Loizos Petridis, 42, and Cleanthis Petridis, 46 – appeared before Jus­tice Daniel Goundar yesterday for their ap­peal hearing.

They were represented by Lautoka law­yer Mark Anthony while State lawyer Saif Shah appeared for the prosecution.

In his submission, Mr Shah said the ac­cused men were charged with 299 counts of money laundering, which involved a total of $209,000.

He said the prosecution’s case was that they were relying on direct witness testi­mony from a Bank South Pacific (BSP) em­ployee who saw the duo allegedly commit­ting the offence outside a bank branch.

Mr Shah said the same BSP employee alerted the Criminal Investigations Depart­ment (CID) about the crime.

He said Police seized 29 blank Master Cards from their residence, including a card reader and laptops containing details of account holders.

He said once the money was withdrawn by the accused men using the blank cards, they then remitted the monies overseas us­ing money transfer agencies.

Mr Shah said they would roll out the charges once the case was transferred to the High Court.

The court heard that the two men entered the country on tourist visas and were ar­rested at a coffee shop on December 19, 2017.

They were residing at an apartment on Knollys Street and had in their possession return tickets for December 25, 2017.

Mr Shah submitted that they should not have been granted bail because the charges against them were quite serious, consider­ing the amount of money involved.

Further, he said, they could engage in sim­ilar conduct while on bail.

Mr Shah said the two sureties were locals who had no prior relationship with the ac­cused men.

He said the prosecution opposed the sure­ties in the Magistrates Court on the ground that they would not be able to control the two accused men because they had no prior relations.

Defence lawyer Mr Anthony argued that his clients had been complying with bail conditions imposed by the magistrate and were attending all their court dates.

Edited by Epineri Vula


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Judge Rules For Man To Serve Rape Sentence Tue, 13 Mar 2018 22:00:16 +0000  

The Fiji Court of Appeal dismissed a rape appeal against conviction due to lack of merit.

The Appeal Court decision was handed down on March 8.

The 23-year-old appellant had been charged for rape, burglary and theft. He was alleged to have committed the offences in 2011.

He was unanimously found not guilty by the assessors for rape but convicted for burglary and theft.

The learned High Court judge overturned the assessors’ opinion of not guilty for rape and convicted him accordingly and sentenced him to eight years imprisonment with a non-parole period of five years.

On the day of the alleged incident the 40-year-old victim, who is a single mother with three children, was sleeping in her bedroom when she was awakened at around 4am after her bedroom door was forcefully opened.

The victim did not think much of it because she thought it was her brother but she was surprised when she found the appellant lying on her back when she tried to turn.

The appeal judgment said the appellant pulled up the woman’s night dress and penetrated her rear.

She tried to face upwards but the appellant pushed her head down on the pillow to block her mouth.

The victim recognised the appellant when she finally managed to turn upwards at which moment he punched her thighs.

She said the appellant had been smelling of alcohol and appeared drunk to her.

He bit her chest, lifted both her legs and forcefully penetrated her rear.

The court heard that the victim was in pain and had been crying and the sex act went on for about two to three minutes without her consent.

In his evidence the medical doctor said he found lacerations on top of the woman’s rear private part which he said would have been caused by a large object.

However, he saw that there were no marks on the woman’s body adding that most of the injuries would have healed by the time he had examined her three days after the alleged incident.

In his evidence, the appellant said that he had sex with the victim on previous occasions in her house at her invitation.

The Appeal’s Court dismissed the appeal and affirmed the appellant’s conviction.

Edited by George Kulamaiwasa


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6 To Appear In Court For Drug Offences Sun, 11 Feb 2018 23:17:20 +0000 Six men from the island of Totoya in Lau will be produced at the Suva Magistrates Court today charged with various drug-related offences.
Two men aged 26 and 19 years of age from Ketei Village were arrested and charged after 45 marijuana plants were found on their farms.
Meanwhile, four men from Dravuwalu Village, Totoya aged 43, 20, 18 and 29 years will be produced in court facing similar charges.
Acting ACP Maretino Qiolevu said all six have been charged with various offences namely found in possession of dangerous drugs, supplying illicit drugs, unlawful cultivation of illicit drugs and burglary.


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Pair Sentenced In Fiji’s Biggest Marijuana Case Tue, 31 Jan 2017 01:41:32 +0000 Waisake Kaloulia and Kaminieli Naqeleca who were convicted for unlawful cultivation of illicit drugs have been sentenced to 19 years and 18 years imprisonment respectively.

The two men were found guilty by the Suva High Court for unlawfully cultivating 484 plants of cannabis sativa weighing 160.6 kilograms in Wanibuka, Tailevu in 2015 representing the largest amount of cannabis seized in Fiji.

Justice Salesi Temo sentenced Waisake Kaloulia to 19 years imprisonment with a non-parole period of 15 years and Kaminieli Naqeleca to 18 years with a non-parole period of 15 years. Both men have 30 days to appeal to the Court of Appeal.

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