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Court: Vakarisi pleads not guilty

An accused charged with arson pleaded not guilty yesterday in the High Court in Suva. Jone Vakarisi is charged with one count of arson and one count of assault causing
21 Nov 2018 12:02
Court: Vakarisi pleads not guilty
Jone Vakarisi outside High Court, Suva.

An accused charged with arson pleaded not guilty yesterday in the High Court in Suva.

Jone Vakarisi is charged with one count of arson and one count of assault causing actual bodily harm.

He appeared before High Court judge Justice Vinsent Perera for his trial, which started yesterday. It is alleged that between September 5 and 6, 2017, Vakarisi with others set fire to a house in Kinoya, Nasinu. He also allegedly assaulted a 38-year-old taxi proprietor in Nabua in the same time frame.

State prosecution’s first witness, Jitendra Kumar, who was allegedly assaulted by Vakarisi, also known as Pei, took the stand.

Mr Kumar gave evidence in court that on September 5, 2017, at around 11pm, he was in Raiwasa to meet his friend named Aman as he was accused of stealing a dog that belonged to Vakarisi.

He told the court that Vakarisi had threatened him that if he had stolen the dog, Vakarisi would kill him.

Mr Kumar said he advised Vakarisi that he had purchased the dog from a man named Michael and asked to confirm with him on the same.

He then had accompanied Vakarisi and his friends to Michael’s house in Kinoya to confront him but upon arrival, the group found out that Michael was not there.

Mr Kumar informed the court that one of the man from the group entered the house through a window and opened the door for the group of men to get in. He said after the group of men entered the house, they searched for Michael and upon not finding him, they started to throw things down on the floor and took valuable items to the car they came in.

Mr Kumar also told the court that Vakarisi then set a mattress on fire inside the house and came outside. He told the court that he could clearly see Vakarisi lighting the fire as the light was on.

He also informed the court that after the alleged incident in Kinoya, they headed to Aman’s residence in Raiwasa in Vakarisi’s car. But, Mr Kumar said, on the way, instead of turning to go to Raiwasa, Vakarisi turned his vehicle to go to Mead Road in Nabua.

He said upon reaching a place in Mead Road, they got out of the car and someone hit Mr Kumar’s head with a pinch bar from the back. Mr Kumar said he starting bleeding. He said after the incident, they headed to Aman’s residence and from there he went to the CID headquarters in Toorak.

Mr Kumar told the court that upon reaching the CID headquarters, he was advised to go to Valelevu Police Station and report the matter. He said he left and went to the Valelevu Police Station to report and was given a medical form for examination.

The trial continues before Justice Perera today. It ends on Friday.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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