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State counsel questions fairness in high-profile trial

State counsel, Nancy Tikoisuva today expressed her concern over alleged procedural errors in the Abuse of Office trial involving former Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and suspended Police Commissioner Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho.

Appearing in the Court of Appeal before Acting Chief Justice Salesi Temo, the Director of Public Prosecutions lawyer criticized Magistrate Seini Puamau’s handling of the trial, alleging that she made unwarranted assumptions and inferences without properly questioning witnesses.

Tikoisuva specifically pointed out that the Magistrate had erroneously concluded there were three separate investigations into the University of the South Pacific when in fact there was only one.

According to Tikoisuva, these assumptions led to a breach of the Brown and Dunn rule, a legal standard meant to ensure a fair trial by allowing all parties to address evidence against them adequately.

Defence lawyers Devanesh Sharma and Gul Fatima were scheduled to respond in the afternoon session of Court.

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions appealed the matter following the acquittal of the two by the Suva Magistrates Court in October last year.

Bainimarama was charged with one count of attempting to pervert the course of justice, while Qiliho was charged with one count of Abuse of Office.

Simran Chand
Simran Chand
Journalist | news@fijilive.com

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