NEWS

Salesi Temo: Families Lived In Fear Of Their Lives At Raiwai

Rokosawa was locked at the Raiwaqa Police Station and taken to CWM Hospital for medical examination and treatment.
27 Apr 2019 10:00
Salesi Temo: Families Lived In Fear Of Their Lives At Raiwai
Wame Waqavanua with his lawyer Ana Tuiketei outside the High Court in Suva on April 26, 2019. Photo: Ashna Kumar.

Families in a Raiwai area in Suva lived in fear of their properties being damaged, the High Court in Suva heard.

Justice Salesi Temo said according to Police 20 cars were normally broken into in the Kia Street/Leys Road area per month.

He made the remarks when he sentenced Wame Kubuisavusavu Waqavanua to a three-year prison term suspended for three years for manslaughter.

Waqavanua was originally charged with the murder of Watisoni Rokosawa.

He was found not guilty and the charge was reduced to manslaughter for which he was convicted.

He had hit Rokosawa’s head with a tree branch because he wanted to do a citizen arrest. He had seen Rokosawa, heavily intoxicated, trying to break into his Mitsubhishi Pajero vehicle on November 23, 2015.

Rokosawa was locked at the Raiwaqa Police Station and taken to CWM Hospital for medical examination and treatment. He died on November 24 as a result of serious brain injuries.

“This case demonstrated once again the evils of alcohol,” Justice Temo said.

He said it was a tragedy for both the deceased and the accused’s family. Both families live in a crime prone area of Raiwai.

He said it appeared at the time of the incident that families in the area were living in fear of their properties being damaged and lives endangered.

“The Police said it was common for 20 cars to be broken into by lawless youths in the area,” he said

“In their plea in mitigation, the defence counsel said the accused’s family house in Raiwai was continually stoned and his family harassed when this incident arose.

He was thereby forced to relocate to Nadi to avoid the above.

“It appeared people did not want to wait for the court process to resolve the problem, but preferred to take the law into their own hands.”

He said Waqavanua, in his service of his country had faced some of the most volatile areas of the world, only to come home to see his property and family being attacked.

“In my view, the public should not be discouraged from doing a citizen arrest, so long as the force used to arrest suspect, are reasonable and within the bounds of the four corners of the law.

In my view, the accused was seriously provoked by the deceased when he broke into and damaged his car.”

Waqavanua was represented by lawyer Ana Tuiketei while State was represented by M. Vosawale.

Edited by Susana Tuilau



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