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Rape trial must continue: Judge Temo

June 16, 2017 12:25 am

The defense counsel in the rape trial of the Jezreel Lion of Judah Church leader Jone Cokanauto, has made an application in the Suva High Court for the fourth witness to be released from giving evidence.

The witness, who is a bank officer, told Judge Justice Salesi Temo yesterday afternoon that she cannot give her testimony as her husband is related to Cokanauto.

Defense lawyer, Simione Valenitabua told the Court there was a similar situation in the Labasa High Court last month where the witness had requested not to give evidence in a rape trial as she was happily married and had forgiven the accused.

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Valenitabua says this request was accepted by the presiding Judge.

State Prosecutor, Meli Vosawale opposed this saying the authority by the Labasa High Court Judge should not bind the court from releasing the fourth victim from giving evidence.

Vosawale told the court there’s a need to bring complaints of heinous crimes such as rape to court.

Justice Temo ruled out the complainant should be brought to court by saying the Prosecution represents the public and has the right to bring any witnesses to court.

Justice Temo says the trial must continue.

The fourth victim is currently giving evidence in court.

Cokanauto is facing various sexual charges and is accused of raping female members of his own congregation between 2002 and 2015.

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