Victim ‘thrown’ off balcony

Tuesday March 12, 2019 Written by Published in Crime

A three-day trial for a man who is alleged to have intended to cause grievous bodily harm began at the Cook Islands High Court yesterday.

 

Ratu Savenaca Virivirisai appeared before Chief Justice Sir Hugh Williams QC on the charge of one count of intent to cause grievous bodily harm and one count of assault on a female.

Virivirisai is before a 12-member jury after he pleaded not guilty to the charges. He is represented by defence counsel Norman George.

It is alleged that the defendant on April 22 last year attempted to cause grievous bodily harm by throwing Etati Vero, 24, off a balcony in Nikao.

It is also alleged that the defendant assaulted his partner on the same date.

In her opening statement Crown Laws’ legal counsel Alex Herman said the trial was about a man who acted out of anger and threw another man 2.8 metres to the ground causing him spinal damage. Afterwards he then hit his girlfriend.

She said the complainant in the matter is a Fijian national Etati Vero and the defendant is in a relationship with the second victim who resides in Nikao.

The Crown says the assault took place in the early hours of Sunday, April 22, at the defendant’s house.

It is alleged that around midnight the defendant’s partner texted her friend for after hours drinks in Nikao.

Herman said it was a Saturday night and her friend was at Lunar bar with others, who later brought her friends along to the house where they started drinking on the balcony.

“The defendant had been drinking elsewhere that night. Eventually, he came home and joined them in drinking that night, until the defendant saw what he thought was Etati touching Maria’s thigh,” Herman said.

The Crown said the defendant was furious when he saw this and he then preceded to punch the complainant.

Crown said the complainant was drunk at the time and fell on the ground and alleged that the defendant then lifted him on to the railing of the balcony and threw him off.

Herman said the defendant’s actions were witnessed by three people, two who were in the house and a neighbour, who is alleged to have seen the defendant throw Vero off the balcony.

Herman said the defendant later turned his attention to his partner who ran away, but the defendant caught up to her and slapped her head with his right hand. Medical examination as by the Crown, showed the victim Vero suffered a spinal cord injury and was airlifted to Fiji five days later for further treatment.

“The defendant admitted to punching Etati, but then claimed that when he lifted Etati he somehow lost his grip on Etati and he fell off the balcony. He also admitted slapping Maria on the head. A slap is an assault.”

Defence Counsel George said the event took place after five to six hours of heavy drinking.

George said the accused denies throwing Etati over the balcony.

“It was not deliberate, it was accidental, no intention to cause grievous bodily harm. He will give you a reason because he saw Etati touching his partner around the thighs.”

The trial continues today.

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