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Fiji Time: 5:37 AM on Thursday 18 September

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Bail plea

Mere Naleba
Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A REMAND prisoner with 45 previous convictions has been told to defend himself in court after sacking his legal counsels on two consecutive occasions.

Justice Paul Madigan denied bail to Joeli Tawatatau on Friday and told him to prepare for his defence.

Tawatatau had asked to be released on bail so he could attend to his family and children who would be starting school this week.

He claimed that he was being subjected to physical, sexual and emotional abuse in prison.

The accused told the court that inmates were often victimised and humiliated by being made to strip naked in front of other inmates and wardens.

Tawatatau informed the court that on several occasions his hands were handcuffed to the cell block door while prison officers rubbed chili powder on his private parts.

He also claimed that prisoners were sodomised occasionally.

Citing his two school-age children, Tawatatau asked Justice Madigan to release him on bail so he could look for money to prepare them for the new school term.

He said he was the sole bread winner in his family after his wife left him two years ago.

He also said his elderly parents were also dependent on him.

However, Justice Madigan refused him bail on the grounds that Tawatatau had 45 previous convictions, two convictions of resisting arrest and escaping from lawful custody and four pending cases at other courts.

Justice Madigan said that since Tawatatau had sacked his Legal Aid lawyer who represented him in the first appearance and then sacked a lawyer paid by him, he had no other option but to represent himself.

Suva lawyer Naipote Vere appeared in court and informed Justice Madigan that he was withdrawing from representing Tawatatau because his client had asked him too.

The matter has been adjourned to January 31.


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