NATION

Voir Dire Hearing For Bulitavu, Karunaratne Ends

The hearing on the voir dire application in the sedition case of SODELPA MP Mosese Bulitavu and businessman Jagath Karunaratne concluded yesterday at the Suva Magistrates Court. The two are
04 Nov 2015 10:49
Voir Dire Hearing For Bulitavu, Karunaratne Ends
Mosese Bulitavu outside Court yesterday. Photo: RONALD KUMAR.

The hearing on the voir dire application in the sedition case of SODELPA MP Mosese Bulitavu and businessman Jagath Karunaratne concluded yesterday at the Suva Magistrates Court.

The two are charged with writing seditious comments against Government in various places in 2011.

It is alleged that on the 1st to the 27th August, 2011, the two accused did an act namely the spray painting of words in different places between Nausori and Suva with the seditious intention of bringing into hatred or contempt, or to excite disaffection against the Government of Fiji as by law established.

During the hearing yesterday, Mr Bulitavu informed the court that he was not told of his rights while he was being caution interviewed.

He also told the court that the condition of the cellblock in Labasa was not proper and it was very filthy and he had to share it with a St Giles Hospital patient.

However when cross-examined by State lawyer Lisiate Fotofili he said although he knew he could remain silent, he was not told of it, he was not read out what his right was except told of the consequences.

Mr Fotofili put to him that he did not complain to officers at the Labasa Police Station about the condition of the cellblock which he said was incorrect.

Mr Bulitavu said he did inform the Police officers but nothing was done about it.

Mr Fotofili asked as to how he knew that the other person in the cell was a St Giles patient and Bulitavu said he knew the person as he had seen him before.

He agreed to signing a page of his caution interview in 2013 when he was at home with his wife; however he denied reading it.

When asked why he signed the caution interview, Mr Bulitavu said frustration, tiredness and lack of rest were the contributing factors forcing him to sign.

Mr Bulitavu also told the court that he was intimidated and felt threatened when he saw military officers at the CID headquarters in Toorak and said that he thought they were part of the investigation.

Bulitavu also denied that the caution interview was done freely and voluntarily. He said Police officers threatened him to co-operate during questioning.

In re-examination he clarified that he signed two pages of the caution interview at his home two years after he was in custody.

His wife Rasala Malani also gave evidence.

She informed the court that she was intimidated by Police officers during her caution interview which was held at a hotel in Labasa and not the CID headquarters.

She said she was told tell Mr Bulitavu to co-operate and tell the name of the big fish and also to admit to the allegations so he could go home.

Chief Magistrate Usaia Ratuvili has given 14 days time for Defence to make closing submissions and a further 14 days for State to respond before he delivers his ruling on December 30.

Feedback:  farisha.ahmed@fijisun.com.fj

 



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