Crime & Court

‘Sold For Sex’ Trial: Witness ‘Was Not Forced’

For the offence of aggravated sexual servitude, Werelagi is charged with aggravated sexual servitude. It is alleged that between July 18, 2015, and July 22, 2015, in Suva, by the use of threats or force caused a 15-year-old girl to enter into or remain in sexual servitude.
28 Nov 2019 13:42
‘Sold For Sex’ Trial: Witness ‘Was Not Forced’
Josevata Werelagi outside High Court in Suva on November 27, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

The State prosecution’s 19-year-old witness yesterday told the court that she was never threatened or forced to follow an iTaukei man for sex work.

This is in the case of Josevata Werelagi, 35, (who had been referred to as Josie) who appeared before Judge Justice Daniel Goundar, facing three counts of domestic trafficking in children and one count of aggravated sexual servitude.

The charges

For the offence of aggravated sexual servitude, Werelagi is charged with aggravated sexual servitude. It is alleged that between July 18, 2015, and July 22, 2015, in Suva, by the use of threats or force caused a 15-year-old girl to enter into or remain in sexual servitude.

For the offences of domestic trafficking in children, Werelagi is charged with domestic trafficking in children. It is alleged that between July 18, 2015, and July 20, 2015, in Nausori, he facilitated the transportation of a 15-year-old girl from Nausori Town to Rewa Street, with the intent that the girl will be used to provide sexual services.

The prosecution was represented by Lavenia Bogitini and Shirley Tivao from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions while Werelagi was represented by Talei Kean and Salote Nasedra from the Legal Aid Commission.

Trial day 3

The witness, in her cross-examination, was questioned whether at the time when she got the packet of condoms from “Josie”, if she agreed that the accused was not forcing her or threatening her to follow the iTaukei man behind the Gospel bus stop, to which the witness said she agreed that she was not forced or threatened by the accused.

She told the court that never at any time was she stopped by the accused from approaching people who were walking alongside the footpath.

The witness also told the court that “Josie” had asked her whether she would want to go to Samabula on July 18, 2015, when they were in Nausori.

She told the court that there was no threat or force or physical pull from “Josie” to go with him to Samabula that night.

She also told the court that when she spoke with “Josie”, he did not have a tone that was forceful or harsh towards her and that she did not fear him at that time.

The witness also told the court that her mother had prepared food on that night for the family including her, and she could have gone back to eat at home, however, she also told the court that she chose to go with “Josie” anyway and that it was her decision to go without being scared.

She also told the court that when she went to Manoca with “Josie”, it was her decision and she waited in Manoca after she was dropped off because she was told to do so by “Josie”.

The witness told the court that “Josie” did not force her or threaten her when he told her to wait for him in Manoca and that she made  the decision herself to wait for “Josie”.

She also told the court that while she was waiting for “Josie” in Manoca, she had enough time to walk to Nausori, which she said  was about five to ten minutes away from Manoca.

She also told the court that she went with “Josie” because she was hungry and that “Josie” did not appear to her as a scary person.

The trial continues before Justice Goundar today.

Werelagi is further remanded in custody.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

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