Crime & Court

Murder Trial: ‘No CCTV Backup Footage of Alleged Assault’

The trial of former Police officers, Kelepi Kolinisau and Selema Tikoenaburevere, continues today.
18 Oct 2019 10:00
Murder Trial: ‘No CCTV Backup Footage of Alleged Assault’
Suspended Police officer Selema Tikoenaburevere outside Court on October 17, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Witnesses in the murder trial of a 26-year-old told High Court in Suva yesterday that there was no backup of the CCTV footage of the alleged incident.

The trial of former Police officers, Kelepi Kolinisau and Selema Tikoenaburevere, continues today.

The two, who are jointly charged with one count of murder, appeared before High Court Judge Justice Vincent Pererra.

It is alleged the two assaulted Josua Lalauvaki after an altercation outside a Suva nightclub on September 2, 2018.

Mr Lalauvaki died a few weeks later at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital as a result of the injuries he suffered from the alleged assault.

A third witness, Sergeant Pradeep Lal, who was on duty that day, told the High Court that the Totogo Police Station had cameras, but he revealed there was no back up of the CCTV footage.

Mr Lal said he found out from the technician later that the images were erased by the system after a month. He added that he did not know this at the time.

Neither Sergeant Lal, nor fourth witness ASP Rusiate Ryland, had checked the CCTV footage after they became aware of the alleged assault by the officers.

Sergeant Lal confirmed seeing Tikoenaburevere hold the victim by the neck, lift him up and push him on the ground. He also testified to seeing Kolinisau stomping on the victim.

Defense lawyer Barbara Malimali asked Sergeant Lal, why after witnessing a crime, he had not reported the matter?

He replied that his senior, ASP Ryland, was present at the scene and told him that he would deal with the situation.

However, during cross examination later, ASP Ryland denied that he told Sergeant Lal that he would handle the matter.

During cross examination, Ms Malimali asked Sergeant Lal if he was trying to cover up for his dereliction of duty on the morning of the alleged incident.

She said Sergeant Lal had failed twice to report the matter and that he was now trying to save himself by blaming the accused persons. The witness denied this.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce


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