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Court denies bail for accused rapist

The Supreme Court has refused to grant bail to a man facing two counts of rape, due to multiple breaches of his bail conditions as well as alleged reoffending in relation to narcotics possession. 

The defendant Elame Elame, 31, of Saleimoa, is facing two counts of rape and is denying the charges. 

He is alleged to have raped an 18-year-old female twice on a bus in Saleimoa in November last year while he was a supakako [assistant to the bus driver].

But in a bail hearing on Tuesday, Supreme Court Justice Mata Keli Tuatagaloa admonished the defendant for breaching multiple bail conditions, including missing a previously scheduled court appearance in January.  

“This is my take on the affidavit: the reason he didn’t turn up to the 27th is because he went to a funeral. That’s not an excuse for breaching his bail conditions,” said Justice Tuatagaloa. “He knew very well he was due back in Court on the 27th.”

The defendant was also accused of another pending criminal matter relating to the alleged possession of narcotics.

The Prosecutor, Lucymaria Soi Ofoia, told the Court that the defendant has had several prior convictions including burglary.

“[Another] breach [of the conditions of his bail] by this defendant is that he never signed in. He disregarded that as well…Tuesdays and Fridays he is supposed to sign in, yet he disregarded that as well,” added Justice Tuatagaloa. 

“There is already a court order for his bail and that’s why he’s allowed out on bail. How can we grant him bail when he doesn’t abide by the conditions of his bail ordered by the court.”

Justice Tuatagaloa told the defendant that he was initially granted bail so he could find a lawyer to represent him at his January 27, 2020 appearance before the Court, and reiterated that the defendant’s failure to abide by the Court’s instructions compels her to refuse his bail application. 

“You were granted bail so you could find a lawyer and appear in Court on the 27th of January but they say you were at a funeral…I already told your lawyer that is not an excuse for you to not abide by your bail conditions. You didn’t appear for your 27 January Court date and you didn’t sign in at the police station at Afega,” Justice Tuatagaloa said. 

“For those three reasons, I will not grant your application for bail to release you from custody. The Court cannot trust that you will appear for your scheduled court date.”

The defendant entered a not guilty plea to the sexual connection charges in May this year when he appeared before the Supreme Court. 

He was taken into custody on 3 December last year, a month after the alleged sexual offences were committed and was charged with rape.

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