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Totogo arsonist pleads not guilty, bail deferred

Sebastian Rakai, 33, has pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of arson and damaging property at the Central Police Station in Suva.

Rakai had appeared before High Court Judge, Justice Dr Thushara Kumarage, at the High Court in Suva, today.

The accused pleaded not guilty to one count each of attempt to commit arson one count of criminal intimidation, and two counts of damaging property.

State Counsel told the Court that his psychiatric results by Dr Kiran Gaikward, that the accused was fit to take his plea.

Sh also told the Court that they needed time to file their submissions for the pre-trial conference.

However, Defence Counsel, Alanieta Bilivalu while raising the matter of Rakai’s bail application told the court that his psychiatric results noted that he was mentally stable given his constant supervision by his sureties.

Bilivalu was responding to State’s objection that the accused was a threat to civil society.

She argued that the cause of his relapse was because the accused was not taking his medication.

Bilivalu told the court that the other reason why he should be bailed was of the fact that his safety at the remand centre was not justified.

She said since his arrest on October 26, he has been kept at the infirmary at the Remand Centre as he was constantly assaulted by other prisoners.

The accused told the court that the medical officer at the Remand Centre was not always present, so his safety was always at risk, and that he only takes his medication when the officer was present.

In rebuttal, State Counsel told the court that the safety of the community outweighed his bail application.

She said it was optimal to keep him in remand where he could be given the best care.

She informed the court that his first surety who is his mother is not physically able to control him should he suffer another relapse.

As well as that his other two sureties, his uncle and first cousin, were both working which meant, he would not be fully supervised.

Justice Kumarage informed the court that as highlighted by the State, the court’s interest does not fall with the accused.

He said the safety and security of the community was also important.

The trial has been fixed to 15 till the 19 of January 2024.

The matter has been adjourned to 13 December for Rakai’s bail ruling.

Ilaitia Ravuwai
Ilaitia Ravuwai
Journalist | news@fijilive.com

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