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Cokanauto Claims Of Family Conspiracy; Denies Rape Charges

WARNING: CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT It’s a conspiracy against me, says Pastor Jone Cokanauto of Jezreel Lion of Judah church in court. These were the words of Cokanauto when he was
21 Jun 2017 11:00
Cokanauto Claims Of Family  Conspiracy; Denies Rape Charges
Pastor Jone Cokanauto (right), outside court on June 20, 2017. Photo: Jessica Savike

WARNING: CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT


It’s a conspiracy against me, says Pastor Jone Cokanauto of Jezreel Lion of Judah church in court.

These were the words of Cokanauto when he was questioned by defence lawyer, Semi Valenitabua, about what he wanted to say concerning the allegations against him.

“They had discussed this matter, that’s why all their statements are similar to each other,” said Cokanauto.

Justice Salesi Temo asked Mr Valenitabua why he had not put these allegations made by the accused to the victims when they had taken the stand.

“Everything about the case, your client should have revealed to you before you entered the court,” said Justice Temo.

Charge:

Cokanauto is charged with three counts each of rape of the first alleged victim which is alleged to have happened between February 1, 2005 and December 31, 2006 at Taveuni and Nadera.

Cokanauto is again charged with a count each of rape and indecent assault of the second victim which is alleged to have happened between January 1, 2006 and July 31, 2012 at Taveuni and Nadera.

Cokanauto is further charged with a count each of rape and indecent assault of the third victim which is alleged to have happened between November 1, 2005 and December 31, 2005 at Nasinu.

He is also charged with a count of attempted rape and two counts of indecent assault of the fourth woman which is alleged to have happened between February 1, 2006 and February 28, 2006 at Nadera.

Defence witness one: Cokanauto

Cokanauto, who is a father of eight children, told the court that there were more than 100 people living with him in Taveuni at the family land.

When asked about the first woman, Cokanauto told the court that she was a member of the religious organisation and was the “visionist” and the “voice of God”.

“She sees things in the spirit world and it is a prayer group not a church because it is not registered,” he said.

He also told the court that there were more than 500 members in the prayer group and that they had church services every night from 8pm to 9pm.

Mr Valenitabua asked Cokanauto how the first woman was able to see things to which he said that she started shaking and saying things.

“It’s like she is possessed by the spirit and sometimes when she wakes up she will ask us what she had said,” he said.

“She also speaks in different languages which she later interprets into the iTaukei language.”

He was further questioned by Mr Valenitabua if the first woman was more powerful than him.

“It doesn’t take away my power because I believe in God,” he said.

Mr Valenitabua asked Cokanauto to explain his teachings about John Chapter 4 to which he said that it was taught in two ways.

First being from the Bible and that the message is about how faithful a woman is to her husband.

He further referred to Proverbs 5: 15-18 as linking verses to explain the Samaritan woman’s story in John Chapter 4.

Cokanauto said: “When you want to interpret the Bible it’s like a jigsaw puzzle and if you want to know about the Bible you have to know the nutshell of the Bible which is the Old and New Testament.

“The well represents the body of a women and it also represents the Samaritan woman.

“It’s for the court to know why I read the verses and why these girls are blaming me. The Samaritan woman represents the whole of Samaria and God is the husband to Jerusalem.

“The water in the well represents the Holy Spirit and it represents God.”

Mr Valenitabua asked Cokanauto what he had to say about the first woman’s interpretation of his sermon to which he said that it was not correct.

“How can I preach this kind of message to the congregation and it is not true, I don’t know where she is getting this story from,” he said.

“No message is about sexual intercourse, I am not mad to preach that to the congregation. It is not true, she is always possessed with the spirit.”

He further told the court that the first woman was lying and that nothing had happened.

It was also asked whether the Samaritan woman was referred to as a prostitute in his sermon to which he said that it was not mentioned in the Bible.

Mr Valenitabua asked him if he referred to the women as the temple of God as described by the victims to which he said that all people were a temple of God.

He was also asked if the living water was his semen to which he said that it was not true either.

“I represent Jesus which means that I am the pulpit delivering God’s message,” he said.

When he was asked by Mr Valenitabua if he had committed the offence he replied saying that he did not and that it was a make-up story.

He further told the court that the second woman was the ‘cheekiest’ girl to him and that she was lying.

Cokanauto said: “The people who plot on me are in Canada; it’s their game plan and it’s not true.”

He further told the court that a family feud came up after he disallowed his eldest son from falling in love with his cousin’s daughter.

And after he settled down in Australia with his wife alleged comments and swear words were exchanged on social media after which he was informed about the charges.

Justice Temo said: “There is an English saying ‘the worst enemy is your own family’.

“We all have family feuds and sometimes your own blood is your enemy.

“You want to protect yourself then stay within the four corners of the law.”

The case continues today as the State cross-examines Cokanauto.

Edited by Karalaini Waqanidrola

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