Cousin ac­quit­ted of rape, but found guilty of de­file­ment

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A man who is charged with rape and de­fil­ing his cousin has been ac­quit­ted for rape by the High Court in Suva. Ap­pear­ing be­fore Jus­tice Vin­cent Per­era yes­ter­day the ac­cused has only been found guilty of de­file­ment.

Jus­tice Per­era said the pros­e­cu­tion had failed to prove the el­e­ments of rape. He said the com­plainant was eva­sive and not con­sis­tent when giv­ing her ev­i­dence. The court had heard that the ac­cused had be­lieved the com­plainant was 16 years old at the time of the al­leged of­fence. The com­plainant was 15 years old at the time.

De­fence lawyer Jiten Reddy, for mit­i­ga­tion, said the ac­cused was young, a first of­fender, was re­morse­ful of his ac­tions and sought the court’s mercy. Mr Reddy high­lighted in court that the ac­cused and the com­plainant were dis­tant cousins and there were no breach of trust. The ac­cused re­mains in cus­tody un­til his sen­tenc­ing on Oc­to­ber 6. Mere Satakala / Edited by Naisa Koroi

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