NATION

Robbery Accused Freed by Judge, Trial Questioned

The High Court in Lautoka has set a man sentenced to six-year, 10 months and 14 days sentence for robbery free after concluding it was not in the interest of
01 Jan 2018 13:29
Robbery Accused Freed by Judge, Trial Questioned

The High Court in Lautoka has set a man sentenced to six-year, 10 months and 14 days sentence for robbery free after concluding it was not in the interest of justice to call the case for a retrial.

Joji Ciridai was charged with robbery after he was alleged to have robbed a 23-year-old complainant on July 27, 2017 of an LG mobile phone valued at $350. When committing the offence he allegedly used force on the complainant.

In mitigation Ciridai said he was separated from his partner and had two children.

Employed as a delivery boy, earning $125 a week, he sought forgiveness from the court and promised not to re-offend.

Ciridai was sentenced to more than six years imprisonment on October 2, 2017.

Judge Justice Daniel Goundar said the constitution gave every accused the right to be represented by counsel.

In Ciridai’s case he was never advised of his constitutional right to legal representation and there was no intelligent waiver of that right.

Justice Goundar said there was no record to show that Ciridai admitted to the robbery charge before the facts were admitted.

He said the procedure used to take Ciridai’s plea was irregular and the admitted facts disclosed that the offence was assault causing bodily harm and not robbery.

In mitigation, Ciridai told the court that he was hit first by the complainant.

“In this case the learned magistrate was not vigilant to ensure the appellant’s plea of guilty was a true admission of guilt to the offence charged. As a result, the proceedings in the Magistrates Court were miscarried,” Justice Goundar said.

Edited by Percy Kean

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