NATION

Cokanauto’s Plea Rejected

  The State yesterday objected to the bail variation of a 54-year-old church pastor facing charges in relation to rape and sexual assault. Jone Cokanauto of a church group known
18 Dec 2015 10:30
Cokanauto’s Plea Rejected
Court

 

The State yesterday objected to the bail variation of a 54-year-old church pastor facing charges in relation to rape and sexual assault.

Jone Cokanauto of a church group known as the Jezreel Lion of Judah, appeared before Justice Salesi Temo at the High Court in Suva yesterday.

Defence lawyer Simione Valenitabua informed the court that they were applying for a change in the residential address for Cokanauto after he was given eviction notice by his landlord.

Mr Valenitabua informed the court that his client had been issued the notice in Suva on October 22 while he was still in custody. Cokanauto was granted bail on November 24.

The court heard that Cokanauto had applied to change his residential address to Welagi Village in Taveuni.

Justice Temo also questioned the defence as to how the accused’s sureties would ensure that he attended court in Suva on his hearing dates because he only wanted the accused to attend court in Suva.

Mr Valenitabua informed the court that his client had the funds to travel to and from Taveuni if his bail variation was granted.

The State lawyer objected to this on the grounds that there were still pending investigations against Cokanauto regarding other allegations.

She also informed the court that most of the victims from the other cases that Cokanauto was being investigated on, resided in Welagi Village.

Therefore, she said Cokanauto was highly likely to interfere with these witnesses.

Justice Temo informed the defence that the last thing the court would consider was to place an alleged sexual offender near the same place as the victims.

He also said that if Prosecution said there were other allegations against the accused, he would then have to take it seriously.

Mr Valenitabua also informed the court that if his client’s bail variation would not be approved, the alternative was that if his client could travel to Welagi to spend Christmas and New Year.

Justice Temo said he was not interested in any Christmas or New Year plans, but did not want the accused to interfere with Police investigations.

Justice Temo informed the Defence that the accused should look for another place to reside in Suva that would be with one of his sureties who was residing in Suva or other relatives around Suva or Nausori with his bail to continue or the accused be remanded in custody.

He also said he would not let the accused go to Welagi Village.

The case has been adjourned to December 21 for the continuation of hearing. Cokanauto’s bail has been extended.

Editing by: Maikeli Seru

aqela.susu@fijisun.com.fj

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