SUVA, Fiji — Three of the eight Fiji Police Officers charged with the murder of Tevita Malasebe were found guilty today. The High Court found Corporal Lole Vulaca and Constable Rusiate Korovusere guilty of murder and found Sergeant Pita Matai guilty as an accessory to murder. The High Court found that there was insufficient evidence to convict the five other men who had been charged with the murder.
The three men who were convicted were those officers who had actually gone to Malasebe’s house last June and were the ones, the court found, that actually assaulted the rugby player. The court acknowledged that the other five accused men may have been present at the time, but this alone was not enough to secure a conviction.
The verdict itself came three hours after Judge Justice Nazhat Shameem handed the case over to the assessors.
Fiji Human Rights Commissioner Shamima Ali said that the conviction came as a huge relief. She expressed her gratitude that justice had been done, but also expressed her hope that the court will now look into the death of Nadi teenager, Sakiusa Rabaka, who was also allegedly killed while in official custody.
Three men who were found guilty are scheduled to be sentenced tomorrow.
For more information, please see:
Radio New Zealand International — A Fiji Human Rights Commissioner welcomes guilty verdict — 22 April 2008
Radio New Zealand International — Police officers convicted of Malasebe murder — 22 April 2008
Fiji Broadcasting Corporation Limited — Malasebe’s accused sentencing today — 23 April 2008