17 Dec 2016

Lawyer for Fiji men convicted of rape files appeal

6:49 am on 17 December 2016

The lawyer of eight former police officers and a former soldier who have been sentenced in relation to the Vilikesa Soko and Senijeli Boila rape case has made two applications in the Fiji Court of Appeal.

Iqbal Khan on Friday applied for leave to appeal and bail pending appeal.

The matter was called before the Fiji Court of Appeal President Justice William Calanchini who reminded the applicants that to be able to get bail pending appeal, they have to give exceptional circumstances.

Fiji Village reports Justice Calanchini told the applicants that only on very rare occasions, applicants are granted bail pending appeal.

Manasa Talala and Seruvi Caqusau have been sentenced to eight years imprisonment with a non-parole period of five years, Kelevi Sewatu, Penaia Drauna and Senitiki Natakasavu were sentenced to seven years imprisonment with a non-parole period of four years while Filise Vere, Viliame Vereivalu, Jona Davonu and Pita Matairavula have been sentenced to nine years imprisonment with a non-parole period of six years.

Manasa Talala, Seruvi Caqusau, Kelevi Sewatu, Penaia Drauna, Filise Vere, Viliame Vereivalu, Jona Davonu, Pita Matairavula and Senitiki Natakasavu were each charged with the rape and sexual assault of Vilikesa Soko and Senijeli Boila.

Soko succumbed to his injuries and later died in custody.

The incidents happened in August 2014 in Malevu, in the Western Division.

Manasa Talala and Viliame Vereivalu were also charged with defeating the course of justice by instructing other police officers to make false statements.

They were sentenced by the Lautoka High Court on last month.

It will take 56 days for necessary applications and submissions to be filed before the Court of Appeal sets a hearing date.

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