NATION

Man Acquitted Of arson Charges

A 29-year-old man accused of setting fire to a house and assaulting a complainant was acquitted in the High Court in Suva on Monday. Jone Vakarisi was charged with one
28 Nov 2018 11:00
Man Acquitted Of arson Charges
Jone Vakarisi outside Court. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

A 29-year-old man accused of setting fire to a house and assaulting a complainant was acquitted in the High Court in Suva on Monday.

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

It was alleged that between September 5-6, 2017, the ac­cused set fire to a house in the Nasinu area and assaulted a complainant in Nabua.

He denied both charges and was found not guilty by Jus­tice Vinsent Perera.

Justice Perera said the only evidence that incriminated Vakarisi was the oral testimony of the first prosecution witness, who was not a credible or reliable witness.

He said there were inconsistencies in the witness’s Police statement and what he said in Court under oath.

The witness said he used to buy marijuana from Vaka­risi in 2004 and the fire and assault arose out of an issue regarding a dog. Justice Perera said the witness was ques­tioned as to why he did not mention about the dog during his Police interview, to which he responded that the dog issue was a small issue.

Justice Perera said the issue was not so insignificant that the witness would have forgotten to mention it to Police.

He said Vakarisi was a reliable witness thus he found him not guilty and acquitted the accused from the case. He was represented by private lawyer Jerry Dinati while State lawyer Eoghan Samisoni appeared for the Prosecution.

After delivering the judgment, Justice Perera told Mr Samisoni that he should have done further investigation.

He told Mr Samisoni to be careful in his future cases and not to take for granted the evidence gathered by Police, rather he should order further investigations where he sees fit in order to prepare a proper case.

Justice Perera said there were other avenues Mr Sami­soni could have taken to investigate the matter further however this was not done.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback: fonua.talei@fijisun.com.fj



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