20 lawmen, soldiers present at site

THERE were more than 20 members the Fiji Police Force and soldiers present at a hillside in Yalavou near Malevu Village in Sigatoka on August 15, 2014, when the late Vilikesa Soko and Senijieli Boila were allegedly sexually assaulted and raped while being interrogated.

State witness Special Constable Apete Naikolo said this while being cross-examined by defence lawyer Iqbal Khan.

He told Mr Khan there was no identification parade carried out for him to point out which officers were present at the site the offences allegedly took place.

A member of the CID strike back team from Suva, Mr Naikolo maintained he did not know who the officers from the Western Division were.

The trial of the nine officers ended its first week of proceedings yesterday.

Earlier in the week, State witnesses included arresting officers Special Constables Maciu Temo, Semi Ravuiwasa from the Lautoka canine unit, police truck driver Usaia Nataraku and Sigatoka crimes officer Apakuki Tuitavua.

Mr Ravuiwasa testified that at Tagaqe Village he approached a minibus on its way to Suva. He said Boila came out of the van, threw a punch at him and ran off. Mr Tuitavua testified that Mr Soko got off the van and did not attempt to run away. Mr Ravuiwasa, who was assisted by Mr Temo, said they caught Boila near a church. They then handcuffed and loaded him into a police truck driven by Mr Nataraku.

Mr Nataraku said he retrieved the backpack thrown away by Boila and handed it over to senior crimes officer Esira Bari.

In their statements, Mr Nataraku and Mr Bari said the backpack was stuffed with cash.

Mr Tuitavua said he had handcuffed Mr Soko and put him into the truck alongside Boila, and they all ended up at a hillside along a dirt road near Malevu Village off the Queens Rd.

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