Tuesday, October 18, 2016
"MY son could not recognise me."
These were the words of Jeremiah Soko, the father of Vilikesa Soko — a man who passed away in August, 2014, allegedly from injuries caused by rape and assault after he was apprehended by authorities.
Mr Soko was the first to take the witness stand for the State as the trial into his son's death started at the High Court in Lautoka yesterday.
He said he visited his son at the Intensive Care Unit at the Lautoka Hospital on August 19, 2014, after being informed of his condition.
The emotional father said he found his son on life support.
Manasa Talala, Seruvi Caqusau, Kelevi Sewatu, Penaia Drauna, Filise Vere, Viliame Vereivalu, Jona Davonu, Pita Matairavula and Senitiki Natakasavu have been charged in relation to Soko's death.
The accused appeared before Justice Aruna Aluthge and pleaded not guilty to charges of rape, sexual assault and defeating the course of justice.
Mr Soko relayed to the court, including the four assessors, that he was not informed of his son's condition by police.
He said the extent of injuries on his son prompted him to lodge a complaint with police.
The State, represented by Lee Burney and Juleen Fatiaki, then informed the court that the trial was a culmination of Mr Soko's complaint, which was thoroughly investigated by the police force's Internal Affairs Department.
Also taking the stand was Inspector Epeli Senitiri, who interviewed Mr Caqusau and Mr Vere following the complaint.
Copies of both interviews were then read out in court by Insp Senitiri.
Defence counsel Iqbal Khan argued that the procedure used to interview the two accused persons was not "correct" and that it was in breach of the police force standing orders.
The trial continues.