Seychelles’ court gives officials 1 more week to present forensic report in sexual assault case
Seychelles' courts building 'Palais de Justice' at Ile du Port, where also sits the Supreme Court. (Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The Seychelles Supreme Court on Monday gave prosecutors another week to present the forensic report in the case of a Mauritian man charged with sexual abuse for an alleged attack against a Russian travel writer at a resort.
The case was heard by Justice Ronny Govinden who insisted that the forensic report is compiled and presented to the defense lawyer and the court before any trial takes place.
Although prosecutors presented the evidence gathered which included statements and pictures to the accused -- Ravind Soudhooa, aged 37, the forensic report was still not available. The accused who is working for the Six Senses Zil Pasyon on Felicite Island, was appearing before the court for the third time.
“We are still getting delays to get the forensic report, which has to be done outside of the jurisdiction,” the prosecutor representing the office of the Attorney General, Lansinglu Romei, told the court on Monday.
The lawyer of Six Senses Zil Pasyon resort, Laura Valabjhi, told SNA that the case is being dragged and it is unfair on the accused.
“As of now, the case is a bit unclear. They are taking too long to present the full set of evidence, and the accused has been suspended from his work.”
Valabjhi added that “The hotel still has to support him in terms food and shelter and this is unfair on a human being, who still awaits his fate.”
The defence lawyer, Elvis Chetty, was absent on Monday, and the court instructed that the case will resume next week. The accused has been released on bail and his passport forfeited.
The Russian travel writer, 39, alleged in an email to media houses two weeks ago that her attacker raped her for 20 minutes and had used a knife as a weapon. She had said that her attacker accessed her room through an open balcony door.
The journalist has since left Seychelles and had said she hoped to testify for court via Skype but had at the time not yet been contacted by authorities in Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean
Valabjhi said the hotel wants to put closure to the case as soon as possible so that they can carry on with their normal function.
“If the accused is acquitted, the hotel has to adopt measures to ensure that this does not happen again. If the case is withdrawn, then the hotel will have to look into ways to rebuild its image and brand,” said Valabji.