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Pair deny arson

Shalveen Chand
Friday, March 14, 2014

TWO former security officers who allegedly set a courtroom on fire told the High Court in Suva yesterday they were not in the vicinity of the crime scene when the fire took place.

Isikeli Nakato and Antonio Matairatu are charged with arson.

Mr Nakato, in his evidence, told the court he was at home when the fire incident happened on June 26, 2012. He said he was threatened by police officers into admitting the offence in his caution interview.

Second accused, Mr Matairatu said the police officers told him he would be taken to the army camp.

Justice Salesi Temo told Mr Matairatu that considering his physical appearance, he looked like a man who did not give in easily to threats.

Mr Matairatu said the thought of going to the army camp was enough to scare him. The two men told the court they worked as security guards.

Mr Matairatu said he was working at the slipway in Walu Bay when the fire allegedly started.

During cross-examination, Mr Matairatu did admit he could leave his workplace undetected if he wanted to.

Both prosecution and defence summed up their cases yesterday afternoon with Justice Temo allowing counsel only 10 minutes each.

The assessors will give their opinion today.

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