Crime & Court

Lalauvaki Murder Trial: Accused Denies Using Martial Arts On Victim

The second accused, Selema Tikoenaburevere, took the witness stand in the murder trial of a 26-year-old in the High Court in Suva yesterday.
24 Oct 2019 11:05
Lalauvaki Murder Trial: Accused Denies Using Martial Arts On Victim
Suspended Police officer Selema Tikoenaburevere and Kelepi Kolinisau outside Court. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

A former Police officer has denied that he used his martial arts skills on Josua Lalauvaki when he (Josua) and three others were brought to the Totogo Police Station.

The second accused, Selema Tikoenaburevere, took the witness stand in the murder trial of a 26-year-old in the High Court in Suva yesterday.

Former Police officers, Kelepi Kolinisau and Tikoenaburevere, jointly charged with one count of murder, appeared before High Court Judge Justice Vincent Perera.

It is alleged they assaulted 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 in Suva as a result of the injuries he suffered from the alleged assault.

In questioning Tikoenaburevere, Office of the Director of Public Prosecution lawyer Meli Vosawale asked him whether it was part of his training to know vulnerable areas in a person’s body. Tikoenaburevere said no.

Mr Vosawale then asked whether his training skills could identify the weakness in a person? The accused said yes.

“Would it even cause the person to be motionless because of the weakness,” Mr Vosawale asked.

Tikoenaburevere said: “I don’t know because I have not tried it.”

Mr Vosawale told the court that Sergeant Pradeep saw Selema holding the neck of Josua and lifting him up… and throwing Josua on the hard floor of the car park in Totogo.

“He could only be referring to you, Selema?”

But Tikoenaburevere said: “Sergeant Pradeep was mistaken.

“I assisted Josua out of the vehicle and onto the left side of the vehicle. We then headed into the charge room,” he said.

“Tomasi (one of the suspects) was in front of Special Constable Kelepi, while I followed behind Kelepi and behind me was Josua. All of a sudden, Tomasi turned back at Kelepi and punched him on the face; as I tried to help Kelepi, Josua pulled me from my right shoulder.

“I tried to turn, but Josua had punched me. Both punches landed on my head. I then held Josua by his shirt, told him not to punch. As he was at the Police Station.”

Tikoenaburevere then told the court that on his back he felt something go down not knowing what it was.

“When I looked down, I saw Josua. I got shocked as to how he went down. I pulled him up, but he was resting on my knees.

Defence witness PC Bese

Police Constable Pita Bese told the court that on the night of September 2, 2018, he was on foot patrol in Suva, covering Thurston Street, coming towards Carnarvon Street.

“From a distance, at Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC) entrance, I saw an unknown vehicle parked on the middle of the street. Of which I decided to walk straight towards it as it was creating traffic,” Constable Bese said.

“As I approach, the driver of the vehicle also approached me, seeking assistance to help him chase the drunken person trying to get into his vehicle.”

Constable Bese also told the court that he identified himself to the woman with his identification card (ID) because he was in civilian clothes.

“While showing my ID, the woman tapped my hands, causing my ID to fall on the ground. I then pushed her, at the same time raising my tone, informing her that I was also arresting her.”

Mr Vosawale questioned Constable Bese whether he could have calmly controlled the situation as a trained officer. PC Bese said no.

While giving evidence, Constable Bese said he saw Lalauvaki leaning on the fence at TLTB in pain and touching his chest.

However, Mr Vosawale questioned Constable Bese as to why it was not in his statement given on October 13, 2018.

Lawyer Akuila Naco then asked PC Bese if that was his best recollection of what happened on September 2, 2018? Bese said yes.

The trial continues today and the defence is expected to call their last witness.

Kolinisau was represented by Barbara Malimali while Akuila Naco appeared for Tikoenaburevere. Meli Vosawale appeared for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution. Edited by Naisa Koroi

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