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Judgment day for accused

Shalveen Chand
Thursday, May 15, 2014

ASSESSORS in a rape trial have found the accused in the case not guilty.

Ropate Baleitamavua is alleged to have raped the woman at his home in Nadera on October 27, 2012.

Justice Prabaharan Kumararatnam summed up the case to the three assessors by saying the assessors were an integral part of the High Court system.

He said in matters of the law, the assessors had to follow the instructions given by the court, however since assessors were judges of fact, they could make up their opinions on the evidence produced in court.

Justice Kumararatnam said the complainant's evidence is that she met Mr Baleitamavua at a bar in Suva and later accompanied him to his house because he had her phone. She claimed she was raped and assaulted.

Justice Kumararatnam said the accused claimed the two went to his house to have sex after which the accused told the complainant to leave because his wife was coming home but she refused, which led to Mr Baleitamavua assaulting her.

The court will give its judgement today on whether it concurs with the opinion of the assessors.

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