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Fiji Time: 12:08 AM on Friday 22 August

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Pastor takes stand in trial

Mere Naleba
Thursday, November 08, 2012

A SENIOR pastor of the All Nations Christian Fellowship church was cross-examined during the trial of ANCF church leader Reverend Epeli Ratabacaca.

The case, proceeding before High Court judge Justice Paul Madigan, entered its fifth day in Suva yesterday.

Mr Ratabacaca is charged with one count of indecent assault and two counts of rape.

It is alleged that on June 22 last year, Mr Ratabacaca sexually assaulted a woman at a spa in Suva.

The court heard that on the morning of the day in question, Mr Ratabacaca had a meeting with Pastor Peni Niudamu who is in charge of the ANCF Nasinu circuit.

Mr Niudamu told the court that the meeting was from 10:30am and lasted for an hour and that they had discussed fundraising activities for the church. He also told the court that they later had a meeting with committee members of a project they were working on in the afternoon on June 22 last year.

Mr Niudamu said that between 11:30am and 4pm on that day, he had called Mr Ratabacaca's extension at his office to notify him that two of the project committee members were going to be late thus the deferment of the meeting to 4pm. He was questioned by Director of Public Prosecutions lawyer Lisiate Fotofili on why he never informed the police officers who had visited him to take down his statement of the meeting that took place on the afternoon of June 22 last year.

Mr Niudamu responded: "The police officers did not ask me of that. Instead, they wanted to know only of the meeting that happened in the morning."

"I put it to you that because of your relationship with Mr Ratabacaca, what you're telling the court now is a fabrication of the statement you told police and that you're telling lies," Mr Fotofili told Mr Niudamu.

He responded: "No. I told the police what they asked, they did not ask about the afternoon meeting, they only asked me about the morning meeting."

"I also put it to you that you had called his mobile and not his land line extension," Mr Fotofili said.

Mr Niudamu responded: "No, I had called his extension on his landline in his office."

The trial continues today.


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