State wit­ness says 9 ac­cused did not as­sault him, Soko

Fiji Sun - - Suncity - Edited by Maraia Vula ARISHMA DEVI-NARAYAN Feed­back: arishma.narayan@fi­

State wit­ness Seni­jeli Boila said yes­ter­day the eight for­mer Police of­fi­cers and one sol­dier charged with bru­tally as­sault­ing him and Vi­likesa Soko, did not do it. Boila sur­prised the court with his ev­i­dence when he ap­peared be­fore Lau­toka High Court Judge Jus­tice, Thushara Ra­jas­inghe. Manasa Talala, Seruvi Caqusau, Kelevi Se­watu, Pe­naia Drauna, Filise Vere, Vil­iame Vereivalu, Jona Davonu, Sen­i­tiki Natakasavu and sol­dier Pita Matairavula are jointly charged with two counts of rape and two counts of sex­ual as­sault of Soko, who was in their cus­tody on Au­gust 15, 2014. The in­ci­dent was linked to the death of Soko. Manasa Talala and Vil­iame Vereivalu are also charged with de­feat­ing the case of jus­tice.

Boila told the court the Police of­fi­cers who had al­legedly as­saulted him and Soko on Au­gust 15, 2014, were Semi Ravui­wasa, Maciu Temo, Apakuki Tuitavua and Usaia Nataraku.

He re­peat­edly told the court that these were the same of­fi­cers who had ar­rested Soko and him in a minibus at Ta­gaqe vil­lage. How­ever, Prose­cu­tion lawyer, Lee Bur­ney, read the in­ter­view state­ments of Boila which were recorded on Septem­ber 22, 2016. The state­ments revealed that Matairavula was clearly seen by Boila sex­u­ally as­sault­ing Soko.

Boila also iden­ti­fied Matairavula in court. In cross ex­am­i­na­tion, De­fence lawyer, Iqbal Khan, sug­gested that Boila’s state­ments were not writ­ten by him and that Boila had no idea Matairavula’s name was writ­ten in the state­ment. Mr Khan sug­gested that Boila was only given the state­ment to sign. Boila agreed.

Boila is cur­rently serv­ing 11 years im­pris­on­ment for the rob­bery at City Forex in Nadi. This was the in­ci­dent that led to their ar­rest. How­ever, Boila claimed that he had no idea of who Soko was and they were only trav­el­ling in the same mini­van un­til they were ap­pre­hended by the Police. Another wit­ness, Auka Na­tu­ini­valu, a pri­vate in the army who drove Matairavula, told the court that when they ar­rived at the scene, Soko and Boila were al­ready covered in blood.

A driver of the Police ve­hi­cle, Usaia Nataraku, who had three state­ments from Police in­ter­views, told the court that he and other Police of­fi­cers were told to change their state­ments fol­low­ing a per­sonal brief­ing of all Police of­fi­cers by Divi­sional Crime Of­fi­cer West­ern, Su­per­in­ten­dent Manasa Talala, at the house of a se­nior police of­fi­cer, Samisoni Naqica. The trial con­tin­ues to­day.

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