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Rape, Assault Accused Pleads Not Guilty

  A 26-year-old man alleged to have assaulted and raped a 24-year-old victim in Lami on December 14 last year pleaded not guilty to the charges yesterday. The accused Molitoni
06 Mar 2018 19:35
Rape, Assault Accused Pleads Not Guilty

 

A 26-year-old man alleged to have assaulted and raped a 24-year-old victim in Lami on December 14 last year pleaded not guilty to the charges yesterday.

The accused Molitoni Taro Vunilagi appeared before Suva High Court Judge Justice Daniel Goundar and denied the charges of assault causing actual bodily harm and rape.

State lawyer Swastika Sharma told the court that the accused was not related to the victim, however there was a co-accused involved.

She said the State was intending to consolidate the two cases with the co-accused Josua Bueta, 18, the reason being that the two cases arose from the same facts.

Ms Sharma said the State would be making an application for consolidation which she said would be called before Justice Thushara Rajasinghe on March 13, 2018.

Legal Aid lawyer Lisiate Qetaki said he had no objections to the consolidation.

Ms Sharma then told Justice Goundar that the State was objecting to the accused’s bail because his parents had approached the victim’s parents and made attempts to seek her forgiveness.

She said, however they were unable to meet the victim because she was not present at home on that day.

The court heard the accused’s family had requested the victim to withdraw her complaint and that she contacted the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Office and told them that she wanted to withdraw her complaint accordingly.

Ms Sharma informed Justice Goundar that the accused’s family had also offered $700 cash.

Justice Goundar advised her to get the investigating officer to attach an affidavit and statements from the girl’s parents and an additional statement from the victim as to why she had chosen to withdraw her complaint.

He said the issue was a serious one which warranted a hearing on the matter.

The State has been given until March 26 to file a formal response to the accused’s bail application.

The case was adjourned to March 28, 2018 for bail hearing.

The accused was further remanded in custody

 

Edited by Percy Kean

Feedback: fonua.talei@fijisun.com.fj



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