18 Nov 2016

Fiji court rejects stay order for Soko rape trial

12:40 pm on 18 November 2016

In Fiji, the lawyer for the nine men found guilty of raping Vilikesa Soko, who died of his injuries two years ago, has been ordered to pay $FJ 1,000 to the prosecution.

In court yesterday, Judge Justice Aruna Aluthge applied section150 of the Criminal Procedures Decree after Iqbal Khan filed an application for a stay in the sentencing of his clients.

Mr Khan was to deliver mitigation for his nine clients who are guilty of rape, sexual assault, attempted rape and two charged with defeating the course of justice.

However, he filed an urgent stay application - asking the court to delay sentencing.

Justice Aluthge yesterday denied the stay order and instead ordered Mr Khan to pay $FJ 2,000 in penalty - $1,000 from him, and another $1,000 from his nine clients.

The Judge said this was not the first time Mr Khan had employed a delaying tactic - referring to an earlier application for no case to answer.

The Judge said Mr Khan's motion, which the state strongly objected to, had no grounds and was done with the intention of obstructing justice.

State Prosecutor Lee Burney also told the court yesterday morning that the motion to stay was raised at the wrong forum.

According to FBC news, the defence asked for more time to file mitigation submissions for the nine accused which will be on Monday, with sentencing on Tuesday.

The nine men have been found guilty of raping and sexually assaulting Mr Soko and Senijieli Boila who were arrested on suspicion of robbery in 2014