Bail ruling for pastor on rape charge

Waisake Tulavu outside the High Court in Suva. Picture: VISHAAL KUMAR

THE Prosecution yesterday objected to the bail application of a pastor charged with four counts of rape and one count of sexual assault.

Waisake Tulavu is alleged to have committed the offences on two women – aged 22 and 32 – between May and September last year.

Mr Tulavu and another accused, Sakiusa Nakutoro are also charged with one count of rape of another woman aged 29.

Mr Tulavu appeared before Justice Daniel Goundar at the High Court in Suva yesterday.

State lawyer Lavenia Bogitini objected to the bail application made by the defence on the basis that Mr Tulavu would interfere with witnesses in the case. Ms Bogitini said the alleged incidents were committed in pretense that it would bring deliverance.

She said the three complainants consent was based on deception by the accused.

“He currently has 80 members present in his church ministry, he is a senior pastor and the members of the congregation believe he has healing powers,” she said.

She informed the Court there was a likelihood the State would further investigate and bring in more complainants in the matter.

She said if Mr Tulavu was released on bail, he would continue with his pastoral duties.

In response, defence lawyer Tobia Ravuniwa said there was no evidence in the three complainants caution interview that pinpointed his client had carried out the alleged offences.

Mr Ravuniwa said his client had stated that he would not interfere with any of the witnesses.

He asked the Court to impose strict bail restrictions on his client instead.

“We rely on the motion that we filled in our affidavits,” he said.

“My client is a first offender. He cooperated with the police during the investigations but he denied the allegations against him,” he said.

He informed the Court that there was no evidence in court to show that Mr Tulavu would not appear in court.

Justice Goundar will deliver his ruling tomorrow.

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