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Rape tops list

Repeka Nasiko
Sunday, December 03, 2017

THERE are 291 pending rape cases before the Fiji High Court, says Justice Salesi Temo.

Speaking at a Sex Crimes in Fiji workshop in Lautoka yesterday, he said the most commonly discussed sex crime in Fiji was rape, sexual assault, defilement and indecent assault.

"Out of all of the above sex offences, the most serious is rape which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment," he said.

"In our last High Court Case Management meeting in Suva, the pending rape cases in the High Court in Suva as of November 24, 2017 are now 79 cases.

"The resolution of those cases will depend on the functions of the police, the prosecutors, the defence counsels, the judiciary including the Fiji Corrections Service. The next highest pending cases before the High Court in Suva are aggravated robbery which is 24, and third is murder which is 14 cases.

"All of the others are under 10."

He said the High Court in Lautoka had the highest number of pending rape cases in the country.

"For Lautoka High Court, there are 168 pending rape cases now.

"So 168 cases are queuing up outside the door to be tried as far as Lautoka is concerned.

"There are only two high court judges processing those 168 pending cases.

"These do not include cases that are now subject of police investigations.

"This is followed by murder which is 20 pending cases. So there are more rape cases than murder. Aggravated robbery has gone down to nine.

"As for the Labasa High Court, there are 44 pending rape cases and all the other crimes are less than three."

He said there was a need for relevant stakeholders to work together to address this issue.

"More than two thirds of our workload in the High Court right now in the criminal arena is processing this 291 rape cases.

"Therefore, these falls on the prosecutors, the police, the NGOs, members of the public what we are going to do about this?

"Everyone is responsible in seeing this issue is resolved and how each stakeholder can contribute in resolving this," he said.

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