Friday, February 23, 2024
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Ratuniyarawa pleads guilty to sexual assault

Flying Fijians forward Api Ratuniyarawa has admitted to sexually assaulting three women ahead of the Barbarians’ clash against Wales in November.

The 37-year-old, who has played for Northampton Saints and London Irish in the Premiership, pleaded guilty to two counts of assault by penetration and one count of sexual assault.

Ratuniyarawa committed the crimes at Cardiff’s Revolution nightclub between October 31 and November 1, days before the Barbarians were due to take on Wales.

He was initially named in the 23-man squad for the encounter but was axed from the team after he was charged with sexual assault.

Ratuniyarawa’s defense Ruth Smith asked for him to be released on bail, which was granted by Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clarke.

“The defendant has been on conditional bail, and he is aware of the significance of his pleas and the type of sentence that flows from such pleas,” Smith said, Planet Rugby reported.

“He has been on very stringent conditions, and these are matters (that) arose out of primarily the consumption of alcohol.”

“He is someone who has very fixed ties to the UK and has played rugby here for a significant number of years.”

“His wife and four young children are resident here and have their own right to remain here and two of his children were born in the UK. He is not a flight risk.”

“There are significant matters he needs to put in place for his family, not least to change the tenancy of their house over to his wife’s name as well as gather mitigation materials.”

“The defendant is the sole breadwinner for the family. He was recently employed by London Irish who in fact unfortunately collapsed in May 2023 and was present in Cardiff to play in a Barbarians game.”

“It was hoped a contract might flow from that, that of course because of these events, did not happen.”

“Because of that, he has had to apply for benefits for his family. Again, those are not absolutely in place. He has various appointments in place in respect of securing financial stability for his family.”

Ratuniyarawa will return to Cardiff Crown Court on 9 January where he will be sentenced but, under the conditions of the bail, he will not be allowed in Wales until then.

Romeka Romena
Romeka Romena
Journalist | news@fijilive.com

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