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Bail change plea denied

Mere Naleba
Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A FIJI man living in Australia will have to stay back in the country after his application for bail variation was refused yesterday.

Roneel Prasad, from Sydney, Australia, appeared before Chief Justice Anthony Gates on a rape charge.

Lawyer Jasvil Singh made an application on behalf of his client for the lifting of a stop-departure order placed on his client.

In his judgment, Justice Gates refused the application, stating the applicant faced a serious offence. He agreed with the prosecution that Mr Prasad was a flight risk.

Mr Prasad made the application on the ground that he had to be back in Sydney because he could lose his job; in addition he needs to pay off a mortgage on a residential property and he currently pays rent for a house he lives in.

The permanent resident of Australia had visited Fiji last year, and the court heard he along with five others were involved in a car accident in the West while travelling from Ba to Lautoka on November 27.

The court further heard the complainant was also in the car and was taken to Lautoka Hospital for medical examination. Two days later while still admitted in hospital, the complainant made the rape allegation.

Justice Gates ordered that the motion for variation of bail be declined.

He also declared that the State file information with the High Court in Lautoka by January 21, that all prosecution disclosures be served on the accused by January 22, and that an expedited trial be fixed with the notification of dates to be given to counsel on January 23.

"This application has presented difficulties of resolution," Justice Gates said.

"The accused does present a flight risk, though at present as things stand, the case against him is weak.

"At this stage I decline to allow the variation.

"Instead, I propose to make orders to expedite the trial.

"If the State is unable to comply, it is likely that a renewed application for variation will have to be allowed".

The matter has been adjourned to January 23.

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