Chief Magistrate: Don’t Set Foot In Mead Road Housing

They appeared before Chief Magistrate Usaia Ratuvili at the Fiji Police Force Academy in Nasova, Suva yesterday for their bail hearing and ruling.
12 Oct 2021 10:43
Chief Magistrate: Don’t Set Foot In Mead Road Housing
Sureties and family member of the alleged Nabua brawlers waiting outside the Fiji Police Force Academy in Nasova, Suva on October 11, 2021. Photo: Leon Lord

Forty-five alleged Nabua brawlers have been strictly  ordered not to set foot in Mead Road Housing.

They are: Sekove Serukalou, Maciu Tamani, Nimilote Qovu, John Shackley, Lenaitasi Kasa, Siteri Tavu, Isoa Vavala, Carl Ligairi, Timoci Ravudi, Eroni Seru, Semi Saulaki Navonu, Mark Wayne Qaqanilawa, Rupeni Savu, Josua Qaqanivalu, Loroisio Salaba, Jovesa Edward, Anare Sawailau, Anare Mualevu, Lino Faitala, Semi Davui, Vilikesa Ranatora, Nepote Cama, Peni Waqa, Rusiate Togatogarua, Kitione Rawalai, Peni Rokotavaga, Sailasa Leqeti, Jalesi Radrodro, Savenaca Koro, Taniela Kepa, Timoci Vakarewa, Samuela Ledua, Michael Fifita, Netani Tokalauvere, Mosese Mamafainoa, Sunia Radrodro, Jeremaia Ubitau, Apitalala Raikuna, Maikeli Rokoua, Kafomika Fonmanu, Ilisoni Tawake, Josaia Ratumaitavuki, Sairusi Matia, Sakeasi Rosakuwai and Joeli Taura.

They are charged with one count each of unlawful procession, malicious act, criminal intimidation, disobedience of lawful order and throwing of stones.

They appeared before Chief Magistrate Usaia Ratuvili at the Fiji Police Force Academy in Nasova, Suva yesterday for their bail hearing and ruling.



Police Director for Prosecution, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Sakeo Raikaci confirmed that the Force would be pressing more charges on some of the men involved in the brawl because there were more allegations.

While objecting to bail, SSP Raikaci said the men were a threat to the peace in the Nabua area.

He added that people in Nabua were living in fear and were victimised due to the ongoing brawl between men at Mead Road and Sukanaivalu.

He said the state was objecting to bail due to the protection of the community and for their security as the case was of public interest.

He said at the moment tensions was high in Nabua and the place for relocation given by the defence lawyers were just walking distances from Nabua, posing more risks to the victims and witnesses.

He said if some of the accused have not received their COVID-19 vaccines, the Fiji Police Force would be happy to step in to keep them behind bars.

Legal Aid Commission lawyer representing 40 accused persons, Lice Manulevu, said six men were fully vaccinated, 22 were partially vaccinated and 12 were unvaccinated.

Ms Manulevu said the prosecution provided a table of alleged incidents that happened between March 20 and October 4, 2021, but did not specify incidents that led to the charges.

She said the prosecution failed to submit an annex of people mentioned in their affidavit to support their submission that people in the community were living in fear.

She said the prosecution has failed to get statements from the staff of Tiko Kece taxi drivers and the Mineral Resources Department who witnessed the alleged incident.

Defence lawyer Shahrukh Ali said some of the accused arrested for the brawl in Nabua earlier this month were just bystanders such as his client who was there to visit his grandfather and was caught at the wrong time at the wrong place.

He said the Police officers had also arrested bystanders because they could be identified as those involved in the brawl.

Lawyer Joji Cakau said his client was not identified by any of the witnesses to be involved in the brawl.

Mr Cakau said his client was a law-abiding citizen with no previous conviction. He said charging his client would jeopardise his dream to join the British Army.

Defence lawyer Savenaca Komaisavai said tensions in Nabua was already on the roof as brawls were ongoing in the area.

Komaisavai said all of the men allegedly involved in the brawl have been kept in custody by the Fiji Police Force for more than 48 hours which was against the law.



Chief Magistrate Ratuvili noted that Serukalou, Navonu, and Davui had pending matters in the Magistrates Court in Suva and Nasinu.

He said there was also no evidence provided of any previous convictions for escape from lawful custody, breach of bail conditions, or absconding bail which could indicate that any of the accused persons may have a history of not complying with lawful orders.

He said the court found that all 45 accused persons enjoy the statutory presumption in favour of bail as provided in the Bail Act 2002.

The Chief Magistrate said the evidence provided by the State had no doubt established that the Nabua Police Station had a real and ongoing issue with law and order in Sukanaivalu and Mead Road in Nabua for which proper measures needed to be taken.

He said the evidence and submissions provided by the State had not been sufficient to displace the presumption in favour of bail for the accused persons.

Chief Magistrate Ratuvili also said there were 16 complaints lodged at the Nabua Police Station between the period of March 20 and October 4, 2021.


Bail conditions

The men were bailed for the sum of $500 each non-cash with two suitable sureties each to sign a bail bond of $500.

The accused persons were ordered to nominate a residential address and reside there until the end of the proceedings and were not allowed to change address without the court’s permission.

They were also ordered to report to the Police Station nearest to their residential address every Wednesday and Friday between 8am and 6pm.

Each of the 45 accused persons was ordered to surrender their travel documents to the court and a stop departure order was issued against them.



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