26 Nov 2015

Not guilty pleas in Fiji's Soko rape case

8:27 pm on 26 November 2015

The eight Fiji police officers and the military officer charged with raping a civilian Vilikesa Soko last year have pleaded not guilty.

Mr Soko died in hospital as a result of injuries he sustained in the attack, but manslaughter charges were dropped a month ago.

Two of the police officers are also facing a charge of defeating the course of justice by instructing other police officers to make false statements.

September next year has been set as a tentative trial date.

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Photo: RNZ

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions says all accused were in the Lautoka High Court today, including the military officer, Pita Matairavula.

All nine accused have been granted bail in this case.

Mr Matairavula, who has been the Fiji prime minister's security officer, is due in court in Suva tomorrow in a bail hearing in a separate sexual assault case.

He has been on remand for three weeks after skipping court twice while being harboured by the military.

He is one of five security personnel charged over the videotaped abuse.

Three of the co-accused, including a police officer charged with the rape of Mr Soko, have this month been recruited by the military.