Attempted rape charge dismissed, judge refers police for investigation

    A charge of attempted rape has been dismissed in the Supreme Court after the judge said he found evidence by the complainant unconvincing.

    Mr Justice Cato said the Police Commissioner should investigate the behaviour of police in the period leading up to the trial and said the case should have gone to court earlier.

    Mate Sele was charged with attempted rape, serious indecent assault and serious housebreaking.

    The Prosecution alleged that on December 17, 2014 the accused had attempted to rape the complainant and had committed an act of serious indecency upon her, having entered her house   to do so.

    At the time the complainant was aged 16 and the accused aged about 19. They lived near each other. The incident was alleged to have taken place in the Vaini area.

    The accused did not give evidence, but in an interview on February 7 he said  the activity  was  consensual.

    Mr Justice Cato expressed doubts about the complainant’s statements, saying they were inconsistent.

    He said some of the evidence she gave was contradictory and that she had accused Sele after having been beaten by her mother with a broomstick.

    The judge said he was also uncertain about her evidence that she had not known the accused before the incident.

    He said that this created a reasonable doubt in his mind about accordingly he acquitted Sele of all charges.

    In his written summary of the trial, Mr Justice Cato  expressed strong concern at the length of time it had taken for the case to come to court.

    He said he was  also concerned that the original interview transcripts appeared to have been lost and that police had given contradictory statements about how this had happened.

    “Prosecutions should proceed in a timely way, which was plainly not the case here, and neither the loss of the statements nor the delay in committal were adequately addressed by the evidence I heard,” Mr Justice Cato said.

    “Delays add to the stress associated with the prosecutorial process for all concerned.

    “For this reason, I recommend that this case be referred to the Police Commissioner for appropriate investigation.”

    The main points

    • A charge of attempted rape has been dismissed in the Supreme Court after the judge said he found evidence by the complainant unconvincing.
    • Mr Justice Cato said the Police Commissioner should investigate the behaviour of police in the period leading up to the trial and said the case should have gone to court earlier.
    • Mate Sele was charged with attempted rape, serious indecent assault and serious housebreaking.
    • Mr Justice Cato expressed doubts about the complainant’s statements and said she had accused Sele after her mother beaten her with a broomstick.

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