State witness ruled out of Harmat’s trial
September 03, 2012 12:00:00 AM
The Suva Magistrates Court today ruled out a state witness who is not relevant to the Estonian national Risto Harmat’s case.
Magistrate Mohammed Saneem said relevance is extremely important in the court and evidence should relate to the facts.
He ruled out the witness after DPP lawyer Mosese Korovou called in a naval officer who was not on duty on May 9, 2011, the day of the event.
Harmat is charged with obstructing to defeat the cause of justice.
It is alleged that he 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.
The court heard in its earlier hearing that Fiji Naval Base had allegedly received a distress call from the Fiji Waters on May 9, 2011.
Korovou intended to explain the process at the naval surveillance in regards to distress calls.
However, Saneem said such is not necessary since the statement has not been agreed to be tended and also the witness’s statement did not meet the test of relevance.
Harmat’s lawyer Gavin O'Driscoll told the court that the witness does not have any evidence nor confirmation of a distress call on the May 9 because he was not on duty.
The DPP was earlier warned by the court to only ask the witness on the agreed facts that were disclosed.
This was after Korovou asked additional questions that were not in the disclosed statement that was submitted.
Saneem said there will be no proper justice if additional questions were asked outside of the disclosed statement.
If the DPP wants to ask questions outside the disclosed statement, they have to ask the questions first and disclose it before the trial starts.
Meanwhile, witness Apisai Bolatuku confirms he transported Mara and Harmat to their fishing boat on his boat.
Bolatuku, a former employee of Nagigia Isnad Resort told the court he recognises the accused and Mara.
The case continues tomorrow with more witnesses taking the stand.
By Ropate Valemei
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