Judge says there is a case to an­swer in Soko trial

Fiji Sun - - Front Page - ARISHMA DEVI-NARAYAN Edited by Jonathan Bryce Feed­back: arishma.narayan@fi­jisun.com.fj

Jus­tice Aruna Aluthge has ruled that there is a case to an­swer in the trial of the eight for­mer Po­lice of­fi­cers and a soldier charged with rape and sex­ual as­sault. In the High Court in Lau­toka yes­ter­day, he dis­missed a sub­mis­sion made by the de­fence lawyer, Iqbal Khan, that there was a no case to an­swer.

Jus­tice Aluthge said that there were enough ev­i­dence that the rape and sex­ual as­sault took place on the two rob­bery sus­pects, Seni­jeili Boila and Vi­likesa Soko, at a hill­side in Malevu. He added there were also direct ev­i­dence to the crime that were com­mit­ted in the pres­ence of the nine ac­cused on Au­gust 15, 2014.

Jus­tice Aluthge stated all nine were present at the scene at the time of in­ci­dent and there­fore there were cir­cum­stan­tial ev­i­dences of them com­mit­ting the rape and as­sault on Boila and Soko. Ac­cord­ing to Jus­tice Aluthge’s anal­y­sis of ev­i­dences, there was also am­ple ev­i­dence of the nine aid­ing and abet­ting the crime against Soko and Boila.

He said the of­fi­cers re­sorted to il­le­gal means of ex­tract­ing in­for­ma­tion from the sus­pects by tor­tur­ing them and it was a joint en­ter­prise. He said there was fur­ther ev­i­dence that chill­ies were used to rub the pri­vate parts of both Soko and Boila.

All nine wished to ac­cess their right to re­main silent fol­low­ing the court rul­ing.

Both, state and de­fence will file their clos­ing sub­mis­sions in court to­day. Manasa Talala, Seruvi Caqusau, Kelevi Se­watu, Pe­naia Drauna, Filise Vere, Vil­iame Vereivalu, Jona Davonu, Sen­i­tiki Natakasavu and for­mer 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.

All nine had ear­lier pleaded not guilty to their charges.

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