Parents decision to bury daughter on the same day

January 22, 2024 12:26 pm

Laisiasa Rokobici (left), Ruci Kalokalo

Fifty-six-year-old- old Alipate Vuki today testified that the decision to bury seven-year-old Alanieta Naituva on the same day as her passing was solely that of the parents, Ruci Kalokalo and Laisiasa Rokobici.

The couple is currently facing charges of unlawfully burying their daughter in Toko, Tavua three years ago.

Vuki, a witness in the trial recounted that on a fateful day in February 2021, upon returning from the plantation, he discovered that Alanieta had passed away, with mourning echoing through his home.

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The witness revealed that he had known the accused parents for two years, being part of a faith group named Yavu Vatu Ni Vanua based at his residence in Toko Tavua.

However, he clarified that the couple resided in Vatukoula.

While giving evidence, Vuki disclosed that he had observed Alanieta lying in the living room earlier that day before heading to the plantation.

The witness admitted to not knowing if the police were notified about the child’s demise and expressed uncertainty about whether she was taken to the hospital.

Vuki stated that he respected the parent’s decision to bury Alanieta on the same day.

He confirmed that the young girl was laid to rest in the afternoon in Toko Tavua within the compound.

When questioned about police involvement before the burial, Vuki admitted he was unaware of such details as he was going in and out to his plantation.

The 56-year-old witness again clarified that he had granted permission for the burial within the compound at the parents’ request.

The accused couple, representing themselves opted not to cross-examine the witness.

The couple is charged with manslaughter and Restriction of Burial of Dead Bodies.

It is alleged that between December and February 2021, the couple made an omission that amounted to a negligent breach of duty, by not taking their 7-year-old child to the hospital for medical attention which allegedly resulted in her death.

For the second count of Restriction of Burial of Dead Bodies, the two are alleged to have buried the body of their daughter without a certificate of death in the forms prescribed by the Registrar

General by regulation under the Births, Death and Marriages Registration Act in the register of that body signed by a Medical Practitioner.

According to information gathered by the Police, the victim was sick for three months but was never taken for medical treatment as it was against their religious beliefs.

The trial continues as the prosecution is expected to call 14 witnesses.