Crime

Legal Aid Commission Rejects Application For Legal Representation By Congolese National On Murder Charges

Lusaka is charged with one count of murder of his 44-year-old wife Jennifer Anne Downes, an Australian national.
03 Dec 2019 13:43
Legal Aid Commission Rejects Application For Legal Representation By Congolese National On Murder Charges
Congo national, Kiala Marcellino Penakoy Henri Lusaka in Court. Photo: Kelera Sovasiga

The Legal Aid Commission has rejected an application for legal representation by a Congo national who allegedly murdered his wife.

This was revealed in court by Krisheel Chang from the commission yesterday.

Kiala Marcellino Penakoy Henri Lusaka, 39, appeared before Judge Justice Daniel Goundar at the High Court in Suva yesterday.

Lusaka is charged with one count of murder of his 44-year-old wife Jennifer Anne Downes, an Australian national.

The alleged incident occurred on July 23, 2019, at their rented home in Service Street, Suva.

Mr Chang said the appeal decision was made by the commission’s board that rejected and could not represent Lusaka as counsel.

He also made the application to withdraw as counsel on the record.

Justice Goundar granted the application by the commission.

State prosecutor Assistant DPP Elizabeth Rice told the court that Lusaka was charged with a serious offence and must be represented in court.

Justice Goundar asked Lusaka whether he would represent himself or engage a private counsel to which Lusaka said that he would represent himself.

Justice Goundar asked Lusaka if he had any qualification to represent himself. Lusaka said he worked as a veterinarian and could not read or write in English.

Lusaka told the court that he could speak, read and write in Portuguese, Spanish and French.

Justice Goundar then questioned the State if the information and disclosures could be translated in French to enable Lusaka to read and understand the proceedings.

Ms Rice said she would need to make enquiries.

Justice Goundar’s real concern is the right to fair trial for the accused.

The matter has been adjourned for mention on January 31, 2020.

Lusaka is further remanded in custody.

Edited by Percy Kean

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