MP takes stand in murder trial

Kelepi Kolinsau (closest) and Selema Tikoenaburevere (behind him) leave the court room during their trial. Picture: VISHAAL KUMAR

THE injuries sustained by Joseua Lalauvaki, who was allegedly murdered by two former police officers last year, could have been caused by punches, kicks or stomps to the abdomen, says Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete.

He made the comment while giving evidence at the High Court in Suva yesterday as the seventh State witness in the trial of Kelepi Duri Tautaumacala Kolinisau and Selema Tikoenaburevere.

The two are jointly charged with the murder of Lalauvaki following an altercation on September 2 last year.

Lalauvaki died at the CWM hospital on October 11, 2018, from injuries allegedly sustained as a result of police assaults.

Dr Waqainabete told the court he was the consultant surgeon on the night of September 2 and a senior doctor who was part of the unit working under him had referred the case to him for an opinion.

Dr Waqainabete told the court that Joseua Lalauvaki had come into the Colonial War Memorial(CWM) Hospital with blunt abdominal trauma which was initially seen at the Emergency Department.

He said the case was referred to his unit because of concerns about the abdominal injury and after seeing Laulauvaki’s condition, the team concurred with the finding and did an urgent CT scan of his abdomen.

Dr Waqainabete said the scans showed free-air in his abdomen cavity which was highly suggestive of a rupture.

He told the court that pictures were sent to him by one of the members of his team and that following his approval, the team decided to undertake an urgent operation.

Dr Waqainabete said the operation of the abdomen showed about 2.5 litres of free fluid which comprised of feces and Laulauvaki had a 75 per cent rupture to his duodenum.

He said they repaired his duodenum and he was admitted at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) on life support .

Dr Waqainabete said the rupture to the duodenum could be caused from directed force, particularly to that area, from a punch, kick or stomp.

The trial continues today.

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