Three acquitted of rape

TEARS were shed by three accused persons yesterday when High Court Judge Justice Vinsent Perera acquitted them of rape and sexual assault charges.

Semi Benjamin, Jope Vakaloloma and Vero Vakariri were this week standing trial before Justice Perera in the High Court in Suva.

Mr Benjamin was found not guilty of three counts of rape and one count of sexual assault and was acquitted of the charges accordingly. Mr Vakaloloma and Mr Vakariri were also acquitted of one count of sexual assault each. The three were alleged to have raped a 19-year-old girl at a house in Nasinu on October 25, 2015.

They walked out of the High Court yesterday free men.

In his judgment, Justice Perera said he noted some inconsistencies in the complainant’s evidence.

He said her evidence was also riddled with a number of improbabilities.

Justice Perera said the complainant did not reveal in her evidence that she was assaulted by the accused persons when she was smoking.

But during cross-examination she said the accused persons assaulted her when she refused to smoke marijuana.

However, she said she did not tell police that they assaulted her because she had so much on her mind and she missed some events.

Justice Perera ruled that the complainant’s evidence was unreliable and acquitted all three men accordingly.

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