5 Nov 2015

Fiji assault suspect wasn't on the run, says lawyer

4:39 pm on 5 November 2015

The lawyer acting for a Fiji officer charged with sexualt assault is disputing the prosecution's claim that police unsuccessfully tried to arrest him at the military barracks.

Pita Matairavula appeared in court on Tuesday and was remanded in custody after missing two court summons in Suva last month.

Two weeks ago, police said they were searching for him.

He appeared in another brutality case in another court in Lautoka last week but was granted bail.

His lawyer, Mehboob Raza, says Mr Matairavula was never on the run.

"I think a certain observation that has been made by the DPP's [Department of Public Prosecutions] officer is incorrect and I think a complaint to that extent will be made by the army legal officers themselves, or maybe me, to their statements or affidavits."

Mr Raza says once his client was informed about the case he went to court.

The Fiji Times reported that the court was told Mr Matairavula was evading arrest and was at the military barracks where police officers were denied entry.

The four co-accused, have been arrested and charged with sexual assault in connection with the 2012 videotaped beating of two prison escapees.

Neither the police nor the military have commented on events leading up to Mr Matairavula's arrest.

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