Crime & Court

Murder Accused: Concrete Block Did Not Hit His Daughter

Kunawave sought forgiveness from his wife before Justice Goundar, if he had assaulted and caused her pain.
12 Nov 2020 11:19
Murder Accused: Concrete Block Did Not Hit His Daughter
Tevita Kunawave outside the High Court in Suva on November 11, 2020. Photo: Ashna Kumar

The man on trial for murdering his daughter told the court that the concrete block he threw did not land inside the house.

Accused and former soldier Tevita Kunawave, testified yesterday before Justice Daniel Goundar at the High Court in Suva.

The incident happened on October 27, 2019, at his house in Nabua.

His four-month-old daughter, Suliana Talemaitoga Kunawave, died after being caught in an argument between him and his wife.

The state is represented by Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions from the Office of the DPP, Elizabeth Rice.

Kunawave is represented by counsels Thomson Lee and Watisoni Navuni from the Legal Aid Commission.

Kunawave detailed his account leading up to the tragedy until he was held in Police custody.

October 26, 2019:

  • Got his hair cut at Nabua Topline. Met a colleague and together bought two cartons of Joskes Brew to drink at the barrack hall;
  • At 9pm: Goes to Makoi with colleague to pick a bottle of rum, goes back home to his house in Nabua and invites a friend and cousin. They later go to colleague’s house then to the nightclub drinking there until 5am the next day.

October 27, 2019:

  • Check-in to a motel then back to his place, with a friend, to continue drinking;
  • His wife asks for his mobile phone;
  • As he continues drinking with friend, wife asks to fix door which he does, freshens up, kisses his daughter, Suliana (deceased) and goes back drinking with friend;
  • Wife begins questioning him of pictures of women on his mobile phone responding saying it was somebody else’s phone. Shortly after, his wife pours a bucket of water on him;
  • He follows his wife inside the house but cannot gain entrance;
  • Tells court that his wife damages the mobile phone from inside the house. He eventually gains entrance into the house, punches and slaps her;
  • Exits house, and sees wife throwing his clothes out. His friend shows him pity;
  • Kunawave tries to gain entrance, but cannot and swears at his wife;
  • This time he picks up a concrete block and throws it towards the window shutter smashing the louvres. The block, he claims fell outside the house;
  • As he moves to the back of the house he calls out to his wife to open the door but by this time she was holding onto their daughter, Suliana, and crying, moving away from him;
  • Kunawave then asks for forgiveness and sees that there was swelling on the back of Suliana’s head. His wife tells him he was the cause of the problem;
  • A neighbour offers a ride to the hospital. A while later a military Police personnel arrives at his house and he was taken to the military camp;
  • There, Police Officers questioned if he had kicked his daughter and he said no, and asked if he had killed his daughter, and he responded in the negative;
  • The now emotional Kunawave told the court he could not sleep while in Police custody and claimed he was sworn at by a Police Officer;
  • He also claimed that he had asked the Police to call his parents and asked for a lawyer but was denied his request;
  • He claims he did not sign the charge statement because ‘murder’ was written on it;
  • He claims he did not see anyone else inside the house except his wife at the time.

Kunawave sought forgiveness from his wife before Justice Goundar, if he had assaulted and caused her pain.

The trial continues today.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa


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