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Man walks free from murder charge

September 10, 2018 6:55 pm

The Suva High court has discharged Roneel Chand who was charged with one count of murder.

On February 19th, 2011 it was alleged Chand murdered his wife, Karishma Nath by pouring kerosene and setting her alight following a heated argument in their home at Nadera, Suva.

Nath who sustained 60 percent burns passed away five days following the incident.

In 2013, Chand was sentenced to life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 18 years.

However, in 2014, the former Accountant appealed the conviction before the Fiji Court of Appeal to which his conviction was quashed and a re-trial was ordered.

Chand’s appeal was granted on the ground that prosecution should have asked for a voir dire inquiry to satisfy the trial judge that Nath’s statements were indeed dying declarations as the burden was on the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt the admissibility of those statements.

On the second ground, the Appeal’s Judge was not able to comprehend how a trial judge could determine the admissibility of an alleged dying declaration without hearing the evidence of the witnesses who testified to having heard such a statement being made by the declarant and without affording an opportunity for the party opposing its admissibility to challenge the witnesses by cross-examination.

Yesterday, the State lawyer filed a Nolle Prosequi in Court before Justice Daniel Goundar.

Justice Goundar explained since the nolle prosequi has been filed, the Court does not have the power to challenge the DPP’s decision to discharge a case.

Therefore, Chand was discharged and released from proceedings.

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