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Request to release client

Mere Naleba
Saturday, May 03, 2014

THE lawyer of a Kadavu man charged with illegal possession of illicit drugs has asked the court to release her client on bail because he had been in remand for almost two years and the prosecution was "dillydallying" with the case.

Samanunu Vaniqi, who appeared before High Court judge Justice Salesi Temo, said her client Paula Ratuniyarawa had been in remand since October 19, 2012, after he was allegedly found in possession of 69.5 kilograms of marijuana along with his accomplice Nemani Nawadra.

Ms Vaniqi said she was offering her services pro-bono for the bail application and was also willing to represent one of the two accused in the main file.

The court also heard both men had applied for Legal Aid Commission's assistance and their application had been granted.

Ms Vaniqi also told the court that her client had already served seven months as a convicted criminal but was back in court after Justice Temo ordered a retrial for the case.

Justice Temo said he was concerned about the two accused persons because they had been in remand for almost two years and that prosecution lawyers had been passing the file from one lawyer to another.

"I see that this file has been passed from one prosecutor to another, that is not fair," Justice Temo said.

"You have been dillydallying with tiny issues. If you want to charge them, then be prepared to go to trial."

Ms Vaniqi asked the court for the prosecution to file a nolle prosequi for her client as five others who were charged with the two men had been released after prosecution filed a nolle prosequi on them.

The case has been adjourned to May 9.

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