Brawl duo released on bail

Tamani Dogolau, second from left, and Ilikimi Kurusiga (second from right) outside the Suva Magistrates Court on Friday, June 24, 2022. Picture: IAN CHUTE

The two men charged in relation to the brawl at McFarlane Rd at Raiwai in Suva on Sunday, June 19 were released on bail by the Suva Magistrates Court on Monday.

The duo, Ilikimi Kurusiga and Tamani Dogolau, charged with incitement to violence and disobedience of the law under Order 16 of the Public Order Act 1976 for their alleged involvement in the brawl were remanded in custody by Resident Magistrate Seini Puamau last Friday.

The matter was adjourned to Monday for a full bail hearing for police prosecutor Constable Monish Chandra and defence counsel Loqi Cati to make submissions on the public interest and Constitutional arguments in relation to the release of the accused.

Ms Puamau said there were two issues — whether the accused were indeed arrested on Tuesday, June 21 as claimed by the accused and whether there was significant public interest to warrant them being further remanded.

The investigating officer in the case was supposed to appear in court to give evidence and be cross examined in relation to an affidavit sworn by her, but she did not turn up to court. Police Constable Chandra suggested the court adjourn and the matter be called yesterday.

Mr Cati objected to the adjournment, claiming his clients were assaulted by police when they were taken back to the Nabua Police Station on Friday after they were remanded.

He also said there had been no affidavit by the Principal of Suva Grammar School or the McFarlane Rd community in relation to the alleged ensuing brawls.

Ms Puamau said after examining the affidavit that it was sketchy in that it provided the opinion of the investigating officer but did not provide anything substantial by way of evidence or a statutory declaration.

“In my view the presumption of innocence must prevail,” she said.

She granted the two accused bail in the sum of $1000 each, non-cash.

Ms Puamau told them not to miss court dates, not to reoffend and not to interfere with the State’s case.

She also said she hoped that while being granted bail they could be agents of change in the community at the Public Rental Board flats at Mead Rd, Nabua.

The matter will be called again on August 15 for mention.

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