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Defence to Prosecution: All You Have is Circumstantial Evidence

The defence has said in their closing submission that Josua Colanaudolu “did not abduct, rape and murder Mere Ailevu”, but the prosecution has stated otherwise. Both the defence and the
24 May 2017 11:02
Defence to Prosecution:  All You Have is Circumstantial Evidence
Rape and murder accused Josua Colanaudolu at Suva Court House holding cell on May 16, 2017. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

The defence has said in their closing submission that Josua Colanaudolu “did not abduct, rape and murder Mere Ailevu”, but the prosecution has stated otherwise.

Both the defence and the prosecution yesterday delivered their closing submission in the trial of Colanaudolu.

Colanaudolu is facing 12 counts, four for abduction, one for indecently annoying a female, six for rape and one for murder.

The trial is being presided over by Justice Salesi Temo at the High Court in Suva.

The charges:

The court heard that there were four victims in the matter, including deceased Mere Ailevu.

For the first victim, Colanaudolu faces two counts of abduction which allegedly took place between January 1, 1998 and February 31, 2001. For the same victim, he is charged with two counts of rape.

In the case of the second victim, Colanaudolu is charged with one count each of abduction, rape and indecently annoying females. These charges relate to incidents that allegedly took place between June 1, 2002 and December 31, 2004.

In the matter of the third victim, Colanaudolu faces one count of rape, which allegedly took place on November 16, 2012.

The fourth victim in the matter is Mere Ailevu. In her matter, Colanaudolu faces two counts of rape, one each of abduction and murder. According to particulars read out in court, the alleged incident took place between March 13 and 14, 2016.

Defence closing submission

“The perception of the public at large has been against Colanaudolu,” said defence lawyer, Michael Fesaitu.

He also stated that Colanaudolu was not the person who had abducted, raped and murdered Mere and that there was no direct evidence to that. Mr Fesaitu claimed that Colanaudolu was continuously threatened and assaulted.

“If you don’t believe then why did he complain to the Magistrate when he first appeared in court of being assaulted by Police officers?,” he asked.

“The only explanation on the doctor’s findings is that he was assaulted and all you have is circumstantial evidence of the three victims and the pathologist’s evidence on Mere,” Mr Fesaitu told the court.

It was stated in court that Colanaudolu was asleep at the time of the alleged offence.

“Had Mere not died then Colanaudolu would not be in court for three rape allegations, and what these three girls are alleging is not true,” Mr Fesaitu further said.

Prosecution closing submissions

“A rape trial is a cruel process,” said the Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, Lee Burney.

He further said all three victims had to relive the horrendous experience. He also said the second victim was brave in her own way because she did not want to look at Colanaudolu, but she had cried while giving evidence.

“It must have been a terrifying experience for her,” he told the court.

Mr Burney highlighted in court that when the second victim was called a liar she responded to the defence saying, “I do not make up stories”.

In relation to Mere’s death, Mr Burney reminded the court to recall the photographs that showed how Mere was found with her face covered up.

“Colanaudolu has lied to you throughout the trial and he is clearly covering up what he did that night,” Mr Burney said in court.

“The best evidence on Mere’s death is Colanaudolu’s confession and if it isn’t true than why would he confess. Who would confess on raping and murdering a child?

“Colanaudolu has already misled you about sleeping through the night. You can be sure that Colanaudolu is guilty of the charges.”

Justice Temo’s summing up will be delivered today.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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