Judge says there is a case to answer in Soko trial
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.