NEWS

Witness Confused With Suspect’s Name, Face

A witness who took the stand yesterday at the BSP trial for a moment confused the courtroom when he was asked to identify a suspect. State witness Alim Khan, a
07 Feb 2015 13:19
Witness Confused With Suspect’s Name, Face
Witness Alim Khan. Photo: Ronald Kumar

A witness who took the stand yesterday at the BSP trial for a moment confused the courtroom when he was asked to identify a suspect.

State witness Alim Khan, a BSP support staff, pointed out in court accused Josaia Usumaki, but named Tevita Sugu as one of the suspects who was unmasked during the robbery on September 19, 2012.

Tevita Sugu and Kunal Edwin Prasad are charged with aggravated robbery of $70,000 Fijian, and other foreign currencies while the other four are charged with dishonestly receiving stolen property.

For count Two it is alleged that Solomoni Qurai dishonestly received stolen property namely cash worth over F$3000, US$100 and Australian A$100 knowing it was stolen.

Count Three, Usumaki is alleged to have dishonestly received stolen property namely FJD$709 cash knowing it was stolen.

For count Four it is alleged that Epeli Qaraniqio dishonestly received stolen property namely cash F$2000, US$45 and A$120 while Deshwar Dutt is alleged to have dishonestly received stolen property namely cash worth F$6400 and A$510 knowing the money were stolen.

All six pleaded not guilty to the charges.

State Lawyer Lisiate Fotofili during cross examination asked Mr Khan about his whereabouts on the day of the alleged robbery.

Mr Khan said around midday he went to the BSP Samabula branch to fix a defect in the ATM.

He said he was rectifying the defect from inside the bank when he was interrupted by a loud bang which left a small hole in the wooden building.

Mr Khan said he was two or three steps away from the hole so he managed to peek through it. He told the court that he saw a white vehicle moving in front and suddenly reversed into the wall.

Mr Fotofili asked him to tell the court of what else he saw. Mr Khan said he saw a masked man at the rear end of the vehicle holding a cane knife.

He also saw two masked men jump out of the vehicle and another unmasked man standing two footsteps away from him outside the bank holding a cane knife and that he observed him for at least five to eight seconds.

Mr Fotofili asked Mr Khan if he had seen the unmasked man before and if so where. Mr Khan said he saw the man an hour earlier in the Fiji Sun newspaper as an escapee from prison who was wanted by Police.

Mr Fotofili asked the witness what he did after seeing the robbers. Mr Khan said he shouted loudly and alarmed the bank staff that there “were robbers”, after which he ran towards the back of the room.

He told the court that while running he looked back and saw the unmasked man with the cane knife enter the bank from the hole created on the bank wall.

He told the court he saw the newspaper again when he was asked to identify the suspect to the Police after 45minutes of the robbery.

Mr Khan was asked if he could recognise the unmasked man if he was present in court. He said yes and point at Usumaki.

In cross examination Usumaki’s lawyer Kunal Singh queried Mr Khan if he saw the picture properly in the newspaper or just had a glance.

Mr Khan said he read and saw the newspaper properly as it was the major news on September 19, 2012.

Mr Singh asked if he could be mistaken to which Mr Khan said no because he remembered the face clearly. However, when he was asked to identify the name from the newspaper clipping of Wednesday September 19, 2012, he read the name of Tevita Sugu.

He was asked if he gave any Police statement. Mr Khan said yes he gave a statement and in that he recalls giving Tevita Sugu’s name.

Judge Justice Salesi Temo told defence lawyer Mr Singh that his client’s charge can be amended to aggravated robbery by the Prosecution after the witness identification because currently Usumaki is charged with receiving stolen property only.

Tevita Sugu’s lawyer, Taina Leweni, was given rights to cross-examine the witness. Ms Leweni asked Mr Khan if the person he pointed out was the same person he saw outside BSP during the robbery. Mr Khan replied yes. Other lawyers did not cross examine the witness neither was there any re-examination by the state lawyer.

Two other witnesses also took the stand. Trial continues next week.

BSP TRIAL

Charges: Tevita Sugu and Kunal Edwin Prasad charged with aggravated robbery, Solomoni Qurai, Josai Usumaki, Epeli Qaraniqio and Deshwar Dutt charged with dishonestly receiving stolen property namely cash.

Suspects:         Lawyers
Tevita Sugu:        Taina Leweni
Kunal Prasad:     Emosi Koroi
Solomoni Qurai:  Rosemary Drau
Josaia Usumaki: Kunal Singh
Epeli Qaraniqio:  Representing himself
Deshwar Dutt:     Sunil Kumar

Judge: Justice Salesi Temo

Feedback: farisha.ahmed@fijisun.com.fj

 




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