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Wife Told To ‘Take Care Of The Babies’

“I will be gone for some time; please take care of the babies.” Australian national John Nikolic allegedly told his wife, Yvette Nikolic, this after their yacht Shenanigans was searched
02 Feb 2019 10:00
Wife Told To ‘Take Care Of The Babies’
From left, Yvette Nikolic and John Nikolic outside the High Court in Suva on January 30, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

“I will be gone for some time; please take care of the babies.”
Australian national John Nikolic allegedly told his wife, Yvette Nikolic, this after their yacht Shenanigans was searched by Fiji Revenue and Customs Service (FRCS) last year.

The words were repeated at the High Court in Suva yesterday by the prosecution’s ninth witness, FRCS senior customs and investigating officer for drug enforcement unit, Vasiti Toga, who overheard the conversation between John Nikolic and his wife.

Thirteen bars of illicit drugs were allegedly found on their yacht. The couple appeared before Justice Daniel Goundar yesterday for the fifth day of their trial.

The prosecution was represented by Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions lawyers Yogesh Prasad and Shelyn Kiran and Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Lee Burney.

The two defence lawyers are from Lautoka-based Gordon and Company law firm. Ronald Gordon represented Yvette Nikolic, while successful and well known horse trainer John Nikolic is represented by Wasu Pillay.

The charges:

The couple are facing two counts each for importing illicit drugs, possessing illicit drugs and one count of possessing arms and ammunition without holding an arms licence.

For importing an illicit drug, it is alleged that that the couple, without lawful authority, imported illicit drugs namely cocaine weighing 12.9 kilograms and methamphetamine tablets weighing 34.4 grams.

For possessing an illicit drug, it is alleged that the couple, without lawful authority, had in their possession illicit drugs namely cocaine weighing 12.9 kilograms and methamphetamine tablets weighing 34.4 grams. The estimated values of the illicit drugs are between $20 million and $30 million.

For the count of possessing arms and ammunition without holding an arms licence, it is alleged that the couple had in their possession arms and ammunition namely two pistols and 112 rounds of ammunition without holding an arms licence.

The incident allegedly took place in June 2018, at Port Denarau Marina, Nadi.

Trial Day 5:

Ms Toga recalled that on June 22, 2018, at Port Denarau Marina in Nadi, after the search was conducted and 13 bars of illicit drugs were found, John Nikolic had asked to speak to his wife and crew members, saying they were not aware of the items on board.

She told the court that she accompanied John Nikolic to see Yvette Nikolic at the wheelhouse of the yacht where John Nikolic spoke to his wife.

She recalled that John Nikolic had told Yvette Nikolic that a “Colombian mariner had hid something in the bag” and that he “owed a lot of money to some very dangerous people and this was the only way to pay them”.

Ms Toga further added that she heard John Nikolic tell Yvette Nikolic that he “will be gone some time” and told her to “please take care of the babies”.

She recalled that she had seen John Nikolic crying while Yvette Nikolic asked him why “did he do this?”

Ms Toga then told the court that John Nikolic asked to use the washroom. After returning from the washroom, she told the court that John Nikolic asked for a pen and paper to write his statement. She handed the pen and paper to senior Customs officer Fenton Williams and informed Mr Williams that she was going to prepare some documents related to what was found on the yacht.

As she was walking away, she heard Mr Williams call out for help. She rushed back and saw Yvette Nikolic crying and John Nikolic lying on a bench, unconscious.

Medical assistance was sought from nearby yachts while Yvette Nikolic asked to go to the washroom. When she returned from the washroom, she was carrying a small plastic container and informed the Customs officers that there must have been something in the plastic which John Nikolic had consumed.

Ms Toga told the court that after John Nikolic was taken to the hospital, the team searched the yacht and found two packages containing pistols, ammunitions, US currency and tablets. She was asked by Justice Goundar to count the notes, after which she told him that the three bundles before her was $15,000 of US currency.

She also told the court that the revolver was fully loaded and concealed in the packages found.

The trial has been adjourned and will resume on Monday.

Edited by Percy Kean

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