Fiji Sun

Judge acquits rape accused

Justice Riyaz Hamza said prosecutio­n failed to prove the charges of rape and sexual assault.

- FONUA TALEI Edited by Naisa Koroi Feedback:

A47-year-old man who allegedly raped and sexually assaulted his 10-year-old neighbour in 2016 was acquitted in the High Court in Suva on Monday. Justice Riyaz Hamza said the prosecutio­n failed to prove the charges of rape and sexual assault adding that the assessors opinions were not perverse and it was open to them to reach their not guilty conclusion on the evidence.

The accused was charged with representa­tive counts of sexual assault and two counts of rape.

On the first count of sexual assault, between January 1, 2016, and February 29, 2016, he was alleged to have touched the girl’s breast. On the second count of rape between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016 he allegedly performed a sexual act.

For the third count of rape, between September 1 and 13, 2016, it is also alleged that he performed another sexual act.

The accused maintained a not guilty plea throughout trial and was found not guilty by all three assessors.

During judgment, Justice Hamza said the prosecutio­n called the evidence of three witnesses namely the complainan­t, her Year 5 teacher and the doctor.

The accused gave evidence from the dock and called one witness to the stand.

The court heard that the complainan­t and the accused were neighbours and lived about five metres apart.

The complainan­t used to go to the accused’s house to watch movies when she alleged that the accused touched her sexually on many occasions.

She claimed that she did not tell anyone because she was scared. However Justice Hamza said despite being continuall­y sexually abused the complainan­t frequented the accused’s house.

On one occasion she alleged that he raped her inside his bedroom after she went to his house to buy ice block.

The matter came to light when the complainan­t reported her claims to her teacher in October, 2016 and she was subsequent­ly medically examined on October 15, 2016. Justice Hamza said the accused’s evidence and that of his witness was credible and reliable. Accordingl­y the court concurred with the not guilty opinion of the assessors and acquitted the accused from all three charges.

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