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Rapist Pastor On The Run

Bench warrant now issued for convicted Ravinesh Chand, If Chand is not caught by today, he will be sentenced in absentia
16 Dec 2020 11:22
Rapist Pastor On The Run
Convicted rapist… Pastor Ravinesh Chand outside the High Court in Suva. Photo: Ronald Kumar

A rapist pastor is on the run.

Police have started a manhunt.

Pastor Ravinesh Chand was convicted of three counts of rape and one count of sexual assault at midday yesterday by Judge Justice Daniel Goundar at the High Court in Suva.

He was to be sentenced at 2pm at the same court. He did not turn up for the sentencing.


Whose prerogative?

Chand’s lawyer Iqbal Khan told the court at the 2pm session that he last spoke to Chand at 1pm and advised him to be present in court by 1.45pm.

“He told me that he was going outside to see his wife,” Mr Khan told the court.

Chand is believed to have driven off in his taxi. Mr Khan told the court that he rang Chand’s mobile phone multiple times but his client did not answer the calls.

When Mr Khan called Chand’s phone from inside the courtroom, Chand’s phone was switched off.

However, in an interesting twist, Pastor Samuel Jeet who was in court to provide Chand’s character reference, informed Mr Khan inside the courtroom that it was unlikely that Chand left the court premises to meet his wife because Chand’s wife was still within the court premises when the matter was adjourned at midday.

There are questions as to why Chand was not taken into Police custody after the court found him guilty of rape.

Chief Registrar Judge Justice Yohan Liyanage said: “It is for the judicial officers to make the decision whether to remand or to extend bail. It is not a norm to remand pending sentence.”


Police Efforts

Police Chief Operations Officer ACP Abdul Khan has assured that Police would undertake a manhunt to track down Chand. He said Chand was not in Police custody when he fled the court premises.

ACP Khan said the bench warrant was issued and Police would prioritise it to arrest Chand.

Justice Goundar has issued a bench warrant against Chand.

If, by today, Chand is not apprehended, he is expected to be sentenced in absentia.

Chand has been convicted of raping a 15-year-old girl, who was a member of his church, on her birthday.




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