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Fiji Time: 3:55 AM on Saturday 2 August

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Teacher free to go

Avinesh Gopal
Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A SCHOOLteacher charged with indecently annoying a person was acquitted by the Suva Magistrate's Court yesterday.

The teacher was accused of telling the complainant, a fellow teacher, "kiss me to congratulate" on November 18, 2010 at Samabula with the intention that she would hear it.

The accused denied the charge and the case went to trial.

The first prosecution witness, also a schoolteacher, said she was sent to supervise fifth formers that day while the head of department (complainant) was on her own in the home economics room.

She testified she saw the accused stooping over the complainant and talking to her but she did not overhear what was being said.

She did confirm while giving evidence the accused left the room after exchanging words with the complainant.

Furthermore, the witness testified the complainant was in tears after that.

When she asked her what her problem was, she said the complainant told her what the issue was.

Under cross-examination by the accused's lawyer Iqbal Khan of Lautoka, the witness confirmed she had known the accused for about 14 weeks and she knew he usually joked around with her.

Mr Khan made an oral application for no-case-to-answer and the matter was adjourned to yesterday for a ruling. In his ruling, Chief Magistrate Usaia Ratuvili said, "The evidence that has been led by the State has only identified the accused as being present at the scene that morning.

"There has been no evidence led on the actual words uttered by the accused to the complainant so that the court could make an assessment on whether such words would be sufficient to indecently annoy the complainant.

"In the circumstances, the State has failed to discharge its burden of establishing a prima facie case against the accused and he has no case to answer."

Mr Ratuvili told the accused he had no case to answer and he was being acquitted.


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