Defence Counsel Davenesh Sharma has told the Court that the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution’s plan, to rely solely on the statement of Rusiate Tudravu’s advice, from the Chair of the National Security Council to stop investigations into USP failed in trying to prove its case.
Sharma said that no effort was made by the DPP to outline what had happened in the National Security Council Meeting, the nature of that meeting, the locality or the setting of the meeting; however, the only thing that was revealed was former Acting Commissioner of Police’s call to the former Chief of Intelligence and Investigation Biu Matavou to stop the investigations into USP.
He asks if this is enough to satisfy that it was an attempt to pervert the course of justice.
Sharma says it is the duty of the prosecution to establish when the offence took place as Bainimarama and Qiliho’s liberty is at stake, and they face five years jail terms.
He said it is not fatal to the case, but is necessary.
The Defence Counsel said the only evidence against Bainimarama is his own statement, but it is merely a suggestion, and asks if that is good enough to attempt to pervert the course of justice.
Sharma added there is no evidence to show what context it was made in, who it was made to, where it was made and there is no knowledge of the context in which the conversation took place.
Resident Magistrate Seini Puamau also asked why the Prosecution did not charge Tudravu with the similar charges that the second accused is also charged with.
Puamau told the Court that everything else that the former Acting Commissioner of Police said after he met with the National Security Meeting was irrelevant and should be axed.
The Court has given time to the Acting Director of Public Prosecution Ratu David Toganivalu till Friday to file his response to the written statement to the ‘no case to answer’ by the Defence.
Bainimarama is charged with a count of attempt to pervert the course of justice, while Qiliho is charged with a count of abuse of office.
It is alleged that Bainimarama sometime in July 2020 as the Prime Minister directed the Police Commissioner to stop the investigation into a police complaint, in the abuse of the authority of his office, which was an arbitrary act prejudicial to the rights of the University of the South Pacific which is the complainant.
It is alleged that Qiliho on the 15th of July 2020 as the Police Commissioner directed the Director of the Criminal Investigations Department, Serupepeli Neiko and Inspector Reshmi Dass to stop investigations into the police complaint by the USP, in the abuse of the authority of his office, which was arbitrary act of prejudicial to the rights to USP.
Bainimarama and Qiliho are represented by R Patel Lawyers Devanesh Sharma and Gul Fatima while Acting Director of Public Prosecutions, Ratu David Toganivalu and Nimisha Shankar are representing the State.
The matter has been adjourned to July 14 on the ruling on the ‘no case to answer’ at 10.30am.