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September 05, 2012 12:00:00 AM
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Estonian national Risto Harmat’s lawyer Gavin O’Driscoll today made a “no case to answer” submission at the close of the prosecution's case at the Suva Magistrates Court.

The defense based their submission on a few main elements which the court needs to consider which included an act by the code of conduct, tendency to intend to public justice and an act to intend to pervert the cause of justice.

Harmat is charged with obstructing to defeat the cause of justice when he allegedly took Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara on May 8, 2011 for a fishing trip in Kadavu where Mara was then allegedly picked up by a Tongan navy vessel and fled to Tonga.

O’Driscoll argued that some witnesses did not give concrete evidence to prove his client transported Mara to the Tongan naval vessel. He said Mara and Harmat were just fishing buddies.

The court yesterday heard that the Fiji Naval Base did not track any Tongan naval vessel because its automatic tracking device was turned off.

However, DPP lawyer Mosese Korovou urged the court to consider all its exhibited tendered evidence.

Magistrate Mohammed Saneem told Korovou that the state’s submission in response to the defence oral submission should be filed by September 6, 2012. The defence will then submit their submission in reply on September 7, 2012.

The trial has been adjourned to September 12, 2012 for ruling.

By Ropate Valemei


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