$250k theft trial – Accused duo file no case to answer

Maikeli Scott Manuwave left, Raymond Johnson and lawyer Isimeli Keteca outside court. Picture: ATU RASEA

The two men accused of stealing close to $250,000 from outside the Home Finance Company (HFC) Bank in Nakasi believe they do not have a case to answer.

The trial of Maikeli Scott Manuwave and Raymond Johnson was called before High Court judge Justice Salesi Temo yesterday.

After the conclusion of the prosecution’s case, both accused made application to the court for no case to answer.

Mr Manuwave, who is representing himself, said the CCTV footage that captured the alleged robbery taking place at the HFC Bank branch at Rups Mega Centre in Nakasi did not identify him, it only identified two people.

Suva lawyer Isimeli Keteca said the State had not led any evidence to place his client Raymond Johnson at the scene of the crime on August 9, 2021.

Mr Keteca said the CCTV footage had not identified his client, and that it only showed the alleged robbery being committed by two persons with hats and face masks on.

He said his client had only been identified by a police officer who was involved in the investigation and identified one of the men in the footage as Mr Johnson.

He also said when the witness gave evidence, he said he was not 100 per cent sure it was his client in the CCTV footage.

The witness, while giving evidence last Friday, identified Mr Johnson to the court as his former girlfriend’s brother-in-law.

He said he recognised Mr Johnson because he had seen him before at his former girlfriend’s place.

Mr Keteca said the evidence of the State witnesses identifying the two accused was weak under the Turnbull Guidelines of identification.

He said sometimes relatives and known people could make mistakes. Justice Temo said the police and criminals knew each other in their lines work.

The matter will be called today for a decision on the no case to answer applications filed by the accused.

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