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Nausori Pastor Charged For Alleged Rape – Day 3 Of Trial

I wanted to kill myself. I was helpless and afraid. These were the words of a 16-year-old secondary school student to Judge Justice Daniel Goundar while giving evidence of how
11 Dec 2020 15:08
Nausori Pastor Charged For Alleged Rape – Day 3 Of Trial
Pastor Ravinesh Chand with his defense lawyer Mr Iqbal Khan outside the Suva High Court, December 10, 2020. Photo: Ashna Kumar.

I wanted to kill myself. I was helpless and afraid.

These were the words of a 16-year-old secondary school student to Judge Justice Daniel Goundar while giving evidence of how she was allegedly raped by her Church Pastor on her birthday.

Pastor Ravinesh Chand is charged with three counts of rape and one count of sexual assault.

For the offence of sexual assault, it is alleged that Chand on March 21, 2019, at Nausori, unlawfully and indecently assaulted the complainant by kissing her and fondling with her breast.

For the offences of rape, it is alleged that Chand on March 21, 2019, at Nausori, had carnal knowledge with the complainant without the consent of the complainant.

The accused is alleged to have committed the offence on the complainant, who was a member of the Hindi Christian Fellowship Mission Church.

The state prosecutor is Swastika Sharma from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions while Chand is now represented by lawyer Iqbal Khan.

 

Trial Day 2:
In her evidence, the complainant told the court that on the day of the incident, Chand had picked her up from her house in Nausori.

She told the court that Chand used to drive a taxi and picked her up saying that he had a surprise for her birthday planned and wanted to buy a cake.

She recalled that she sat in the front passenger seat and they were supposed to go to a cake shop in Nausori Town to buy a cake for her, however, Chand turned the vehicle towards the Nausori Airport instead.

The complainant told the court Chand had parked the vehicle at an isolated place and that she could not see anyone around the area.

She testified that Chand said to her that he was crazily in love with her and had been wanting to tell her the same but could not.

She told the court that she was shocked to hear such from Chand.

She further testified that Chand pulled her closer and started kissing her on her lips.

She added that while kissing her, Chand held her hand and placed it on his private part while he unzipped her dress.

The complainant told the court that she was in shock when all these were happening to her and did not know what to do as Chand was known as a trusted man.

She testified that Chand pulled her sleeve and fondled her breasts.

She further added that Chand forced her head to his private part and penetrated and later pushed her seat back and climbed on top of her.

The complainant added that Chand then raped her inside his vehicle.

She told the court that she did not know what to do or where to go and ask for help.

She further added that after the alleged incidents, Chand gave her $20 and dropped her at a cake shop in Nausori and told her that he would pick her up from there later.

The complainant added that she bought her cake and waited for Chand at the cake shop.

She also told the court that while waiting, she kept thinking of what to do and that she wanted to kill herself, but thought of her parents.

She also testified that when Chand picked her up from the cake shop, he drove her to the Church located in Sawani where the party was to take place.

She also told the court that on the way, Chand told her that he loved her and that he pulled her and kissed her again.

The complainant told the court she was at the party until 1am and that Chand was also there with his family at the party.

 

Trial Day 3:
Investigation officer, Woman Corporal Irinieta Naqolo took stand yesterday.

She was not examined by the prosecution as the state did not propose to call her as witness.

However, Mr Khan had requested for Ms Naqolo to be called to the stand as he wished to ask her questions regarding the investigations of the case.

Justice Goundar had approved and allowed defence to question her.

Ms Naqolo told the court that she was the investigating officer in the case and that on March 24, 2019, Police had the possession of Chand’s vehicle which was said to be the alleged crime scene.

She added that the vehicle was taken by the Crime Scene Department for forensic and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).

She told the court that the complainant in her statement to the Police had stated that Chand had ejaculated on the passenger seat and had used a curtain cloth to wipe off.

She testified that there was a forensic and DNA report made by the Crime Scene Department, however, she added that she did not recall the result of the report.

When Justice Goundar questioned whether Chand’s consent was taken to conduct a DNA examination, Ms Naqolo told the court that the Crime Scene Department had taken a consent.

Justice Goundar then questioned of the report, however, Ms Naqolo told the court that she would have to seek for the report to be handed over.

Justice Goundar has given time to prosecution until 3pm today to file and serve a copy of the forensic and DNA report.

The trial will continue on Monday.

 

Feedback: ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj



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