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Father denies sex charges

A father facing 79 charges of incest and a corresponding number of charges of raping his biological daughter has pleaded not guilty.

The father, whose name is suppressed, entered his plea through lawyer, Afamasaga Michael So'onalole, in the Supreme Court. 

Appearing before Justice Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke, the father from a rural village was seen closing his eyes and saying a prayer when the lawyers were discussing the matter. 

Assistant Attorney General, Magele Leone Su’a, said the prosecution would withdraw its latest charge sheet in light of the accused's not guilty plea.

She added the withdrawal was due to the prosecution’s prior discussions with the defence lawyer which, she alleged, had given her the impression that the accused was going to enter a guilty plea. 

“In light of the not guilty plea we will revert back to the amended charging sheet where there are 79 charges of incest and 79 charges of sexual violation…," the prosecutor said. 

The prosecution is still opposing the father’s bail request on grounds that his daughter is the victim of the alleged offending that dates back to 2013. 

Justice Leiataualesa adjourned the matter for hearing on 7 September 2020. 

The father remains in custody and is to appear again next week for his lawyer to file his bail application. 

Outside Court, the wife of the accused and his daughter, the alleged victim, waited to see the accused before he was taken back to Tanumalala prison. 

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