Crime

3 Police Officers Accused Of Pouring Hot Water On Complainant And Hitting His Legs With Cement Block Out On Bail

It is alleged that Bolabiu, Naiwau and Turagadrau, on November 5, 2019, at Pacific Harbour Community Post, with intent to do some grievous harm to Manasa Rayasidamu, unlawfully wounded Mr Rayasidamu by pouring hot water on his back and hitting his legs with a cement block.
21 Nov 2019 13:31
3 Police Officers Accused Of Pouring Hot Water On Complainant And Hitting His Legs With Cement Block Out On Bail
From left: Suspended Police officers Benedito Bolabiu, Laisenia Naiwau and Lasaro Turagadrau outside the Magistrates Court in Suva on November 20, 2019. Photos: Ronald Kumar

Three suspended Police Constables, charged for alleged brutality in Navua, were yesterday granted temporary bail when they appeared at the Magistrates Court in Suva.

This followed a submission by defence lawyer Ana Tuiketei who told the court the accused, Benedito Bolabiu, 26, Laisenia Naiwau, 31, and Lasaro Turagadrau, 35, would be in danger at the Remand Centre.

She told the court the trio were part of the operation team that conducted raids and arrests and they were also witnesses in some of the serious cases before the courts.

They are accused of pouring hot water on the complainant’s back and hitting his legs with a cement block.

They are jointly charged with one count of act with the intent to cause grievous harm. The accused appeared before Magistrate Waleen George.

It is alleged that Bolabiu, Naiwau and Turagadrau, on November 5, 2019, at Pacific Harbour Community Post, with intent to do some grievous harm to Manasa Rayasidamu, unlawfully wounded Mr Rayasidamu by pouring hot water on his back and hitting his legs with a cement block.

The prosecution was represented by Rajneel Kumar from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Magistrate George questioned the State as to why the matter was called in the Magistrates Court in Suva as it was a Pacific Harbour matter and was filed in the wrong jurisdiction.

Mr Kumar told the court that the investigations were conducted by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) in Suva and the charges were filed in Suva accordingly.

Magistrate George said her superior was out of the office for the day and the file had to go through the correct jurisdiction. She said the court’s duty was also to check whether the case had the jurisdiction to hear the matter.

Ms Tuiketei requested the court if Bolabiu, Naiwau and Turagadrau could be kept in custody at the Police Station, however, Magistrate George said once the matter was called in court, the accused persons are not sent back to the Police Station.

She said the accused persons have to be remanded at the Remand Centre regardless of who you were in the society as the law was applicable for everyone. She said Bolabiu, Naiwau and Turagadrau were charged with an indictable offence despite the fact that they were Police officers.

Ms Tuiketei told the court that Bolabiu, Naiwau and Turagadrau have been in the Force between five to 10 years and had been based in Navua.

She told the court that her concern was the place of remand and suggested if they could be remanded at Totogo Police Station instead of the Remand Centre.

Mr Kumar told the court that the State had only one serious objection which could be cured with a non-contact order with the complainant.

Magistrate George said if the court sent Bolabiu, Naiwau and Turagadrau to the Police Station, they would take more space in the cell and if the court sent them to the Remand Centre that would be more work for the Corrections authorities as they had been in custody for more than 48 hours.

She said she did not think Bolabiu, Naiwau and Turagadrau would run away from court as they would know the importance of attending court.

Magistrate George said to the sureties that they knew their duties as sureties and they had to make sure Bolabiu, Naiwau and Turagadrau attended court and if not, they would have to pay the bail bond.

She granted temporary bail to Bolabiu, Naiwau and Turagadrau on the sum of $1000 each.

She also ordered the sureties to sign a bail bond of $1000 each respectively.

Magistrate George transferred the matter to the Chief Magistrate Usaia Ratuvili’s court and warned Bolabiu, Naiwau and Turagadrau to keep away from witnesses and not to re-offend while on bail.

She also ordered them to report to the Navua Police Station every last Saturday of the month between 6 am and 6 pm. The matter will be called before Chief Magistrate Ratuvili this morning.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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