NEWS

Navosai Alleged Arson/Murder Pair Front Court

A large crowd gathered outside the Nasinu Magistrates Court yesterday morning to get a glimpse of the two men accused of the alleged Narere, Nasinu arson-murder case. Criminal Investigation Department
22 Oct 2015 09:39
Navosai Alleged Arson/Murder Pair Front Court
Large crowd gathered outside Nasinu Court as the two arson and murder suspects appeared yesterday. Photo:

A large crowd gathered outside the Nasinu Magistrates Court yesterday morning to get a glimpse of the two men accused of the alleged Narere, Nasinu arson-murder case.
Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officers, Police officers from Nasinu Mobile Unit and Valelevu Police Station escorted men Binesh Prasad, 31, and Mathew Gunua, 32, to court.
The two were handcuffed and shied away from cameras. The courtroom was locked as Police officers stood outside to guard and control the crowd. The two appeared before Resident Magistrate Sufia Hamza.
Prasad and Gunua are each charged with a count of arson, five counts of murder, one count of act with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and one count of damaging property.
It is alleged that on October 15, the two allegedly, willfully, set fire (count 1) to the home of Hans Wati in Narere, Navosai, which allegedly claimed the lives of five victims.
The five dead as a result of the alleged arson, were Jai Narayan, 54, (count 2) his granddaughter Prishika Devi, 10, (count 3) his daughter Uleshni Irene Lata, 28, (count 4) and a couple who were tenants; Imran Ali (count 5) and Faria Ali (count 6).
Prasad is the husband of deceased Uleshni Irene Lata.
It is also alleged that the two, on the same day, caused grievous bodily harm to Jotishma Neelam (count 7) with the intent to cause injury to her.
The two also allegedly, willfully damaged a taxi (count 8) of a Mohammed Khalil worth $8500.
Charges were read out to Prasad and Gunua in Hindi and English language respectively and both understood their charges.
Jiten Reddy is defending Prasad, a taxi driver, while the second accused, Gunua who is a tertiary student has waived his right to legal representation and will defend himself.
Police Prosecutor Sergeant Feroz Khan served the first phase of disclosures and informed the court that the second phase will be dealt with by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP).
He made an application for the matter to be transferred to the High Court citing counts 1 to 7 to be an indictable offence.

Bail application submission
Defence lawyer Mr Reddy made applications that his client be granted bail on the basis that he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
He also raised an issue that the Police officers went forward with the caution interview while his client kept asking them to wait for his lawyer to arrive before proceeding.
He also said that Prasad was caution interviewed in Hindi language, but the statement was not read back to him.
Mr Reddy said his client was ready to provide two sureties who were checked before they entered the courtroom by Police officers. He also informed the court that his client was willing to abide by any standard bail conditions and will reside with his parents in Vuci, Nausori, while on bail.
However, Mr Khan objected to bail citing the seriousness of the matter. He said the matter was of public interest as five lives have been lost. He said tension in the community was high and for the security and safety of the two accused persons, they should be remanded in custody.
The case was stood down for 15minutes for bail ruling for the first accused.

Bail ruling
Magistrate Hamza, after hearing both sides’ application, refused to grant bail for Prasad.
She said the matter was of public interest and it was the court’s duty to protect members of the community.
The accused have been remanded in custody.
The matter has been transferred to the High Court and will be called for a first call on November 11.
The two accused were escorted back to custody in separate vehicles under police guard.

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