Court to rule on Yatipu’s ‘no case’ submission today

The Supreme Court will deliver its decision on Miss Henriette Yatipu’s ‘no case to answer’ submission today.

Defense lawyer Avock Godden said they will still continue with their case if the Supreme Court rules out their submissions because they have two witnesses to testify — the defendant herself and another passenger who was inside the bus at the time of the fatal traffic collision at Tagabe in 2017.

But in his ‘no case’ submission, Mr Godden said the prosecution failed to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt that should warrant a conviction of his client.

He said according to the evidences adduced in court there is no clear indication that Yatipu consumed alcohol on the night of the accident and the witness who claimed that she had seen the defendant drinking was not called.

Justice Daniel Fatiaki said that alcohol is not considered as the leading factor to all reckless driving in Port Vila today.

He said that evidences show that officers arrested Godden’s client on the early morning of July 1, 2017 but none of them submitted a handwritten report to the coroner.

The claims in the case are that the deceased may have sustained some injuries elsewhere before the incident happened.

He said that a witness was at the roundabout when the accident occurred but during cross examination, she said that she was a few meters at the ‘Brothers Takeaway’ beside the fuel station and the other witness who claimed to be on the roundabout was not called.

Mr Godden said that there were some inconsistencies in the prosecution evidences and should not be relied upon. These includes the absence of blood stains on the bus when the police inspected the vehicle.

He furthered that two prosecution witnesses had two different version of the story. Mary Massing claimed to have seen the bus hitting the deceased while Carolyn Malapa who was in front of the bus said that she shouted to the defendant some distance from a pedestrian and she avoided the accident by running on top of the roundabout.

The defense lawyer said that the prosecution’s case presents some doubts and therefore the case should be dismissed.

Godden said that Ms Massing confirmed that the deceased was hit on the right but records showed the victim was injured on his left side.

Mary Taeki from the state prosecution said that the evidence showed that Yatipu was the driver of that bus and was driving on the wrong lane when she allegedly hit the victim.

She said that Ms Malapa confirmed in her evidence in chief that she had some beer at her house before leaving for the Planet 107 nightclub.

She added that John Harold, the club security claimed that when Yatipu left the club she slammed the door behind her and was walking unsteadily to her bus.

Prosecution said that Constable Naomi Laicha confirmed when the defendant was arrested she was the officer who searched her and claimed she smelled of alcohol during the brief interview they had at the time.

But her witnesses did not identify the impact point on the sketch drawn by the investigators during the trial.

The statements revealed that the windscreen of the bus was broken but Ms Taeki didn’t question her witnesses on this during her case.

Prosecution said that a hat and slipper were found at the scene belonging to the victim but no one could confirm that those items belonged to the deceased.

She went on to discredit one of her witnesses as hostile but later on she referred to some of her evidence raised in court during the trial.

She also did not mention that in the beginning Ms Yatipu admitted the offence that after she had some kava, she had some beer at Planet 107 and at around 2.30am she dropped someone at Blacksands and was on her way back when she hit the deceased.

She said it happened too fast.

Malapa initially stated that they hit the victim while on their way back and later denied this during her examination in chief but the prosecution did not take her up on her initial confession.

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