Man admits committing sex acts on underage girl
A26-year-old man facing sexual offence charges has pleaded guilty to the charges on his own free will. Manasa Ratuloaloa appeared before Justice Thushara Rajasinghe at the High Court in Suva on Thursday for a plea.
This was after an application made by defence lawyer, Anil Chand, from the Legal Aid Commission to vacate Ratuloaloa’s earlier plea.
Ratuloaloa had earlier pleaded not guilty to the charges and the matter was set for trial to start next Tuesday. However, Mr Chand in court made the application for the earlier plea to be vacated as Ratuloaloa had indicated that he wanted to take a progressive approach to the charges.
Ratuloaloa is charged with one count each of rape, sexual assault and abduction of a young person. He pleaded guilty to the charges yesterday.
For the offence of rape, it is alleged that on January 25, 2018, at Lakena, Nausori, Ratuloaloa performed a sexual act on the complainant, a child under the age of 13 years, with his finger.
For the offence of sexual assault, it is alleged that on January 25, 2018, at Lakena, Nausori, Ratuloaloa indecently assaulted the complainant.
For the offence of abduction of a young person, it is alleged that on January 25, 2018, at Lakena, Nausori, Ratuloaloa took the complainant, being under the age of 18 years, out of the possession and against the will of her grandmother. Ratuloaloa told the court that he was not threatened or forced to plead guilty.
He also told the court that no promises were made to him to plead guilty to the charges and that he understood the consequences of a guilty plea.
State prosecutor Sheenal Swastika sought time to file the summary of facts. Justice Rajasinghe granted them time to prepare and file the summary of facts along with the sentencing submissions and also for the defence counsel to file mitigation. The case was adjourned to August 27 for mention.
Ratuloaloa was further remanded in custody.