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Arson suspect free

Nanise Loanakadavu
Thursday, February 21, 2013

A MAN who was alleged to have set his house on fire in 2011 at Raralevu in Nausori has been set free after the High Court in Suva found him not guilty of a charge of arson.

The three assessors in the trial of Jitendra Kumar unanimously found him not guilty yesterday.

In his judgment Justice Salesi Temo said the three assessors obviously rejected the prosecution's version of events and as a result, they had found that the prosecution had not proven its case beyond reasonable doubt.

Mr Kumar was alleged to have set his house on fire on June 5 after an argument with his wife.

The court heard that Mr Kumar and Mrs Kumar's relationship was often a volatile one because he claimed his wife to be having numerous affairs.

On the morning of June 5, 2011, an argument broke out after Mrs Kumar refused to cook when Mr Kumar returned home from work, drunk. He swore at his wife and his daughter-in-law, and threatened to burn the house.

He then went into the sitting room and allegedly lit a blanket with a match, causing a fire which spread all over the house, destroying it completely.

"In my view, the three assessors' verdict was not perverse. It was open to them to reach such conclusion on the evidence," Justice Temo said in his judgment.