While delivering the ruling in the last hour, Magistrate Mohammed Saneem said he finds that the circumstantial evidence in the case is more focused on proving the escape of Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara. Magistrate Saneem said there is no evidence that would show collusion neither has the motive been established. He said according to Harmat, it was a normal fishing trip and they caught some fish.
Magistrate Saneem said prosecution witnesses also confirm that Harmat’s boat was seen trawling on the 9th of May last year. He said there is no evidence produced of any reward or benefit given to Harmat by Ratu Tevita Mara. Magistrate Saneem said he upholds the no case to answer submission by the defense, dismissed the case and acquitted Harmat. He also ordered that after the expiration of the necessary appeal period, Harmat’s passport be released to him together with any bail bond paid to the court. Harmat’s lawyer Gavin O’Driscoll had said that Harmat went for a fishing trip only and was not aware that Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara will not return with him. He said that Mara had requested to be dropped off at the beach and that it is not an offence to drop some one within Fiji’s jurisdiction. O’Driscoll also said that there is no evidence Harmat received any compensation.
Sourced: Fiji Village News, 24/9/12