Former Vanuatu National Provident Fund (VNPF) General Manager (GM), Parmod Achary, has appealed against all his criminal convictions earlier this week.
The appeal was delivered on the grounds that the court had failed to analyse and consider whether the act of indecency without consent which were charges 1 to 5 in the criminal case against him was intentional.
According to the appeal, analysing whether the alleged touching was intentional is a necessary element of the offense.
A further ground of appeal was that some of the evidence presented by the prosecution witnesses was accepted despite being uncorroborated by other witnesses.
Another component of the appeal was that the court had preferred evidence of the complainants in circumstances where the Appellant had denied the allegations, and where insufficient or no weight was given to certain factors of the case.
Additional errors were that the judge had accepted witnesses from both parties to be ‘a truthful and accurate witness’, while their respective evidence was contradictory.
The appellant argued that the evidence presented by the defense witnesses should have been preferred in regard to the circumstance stated above.
Further additional claimed errors were that the judge had held certain evidence given by the prosecution witness to be in support of the particulars of counts 4 and 9 of the criminal charge when it did not.
Another alleged error argued in the appeal was that although the judge had accepted that one of the defense witnesses ‘gave evidence to assist the court with the truth…’, it had erred by not finding that the said evidence had undermined the credibility of the evidence presented by few of the prosecution witnesses, and that the defense’s evidence should have been preferred.
The appeal also claimed that the court had applied a wrong principle of law by reversing the onus, and in circumstances where in respect of counts 1 (6), 2(7), and 3 (8), the prosecution did not allege that there were any witnesses to the events.
Other errors were that the judge had failed to heed the warning of the dangers of convicting the defendant on uncorroborated evidence of a complainant, the judge had also failed to give reasons why the court preferred evidence notwithstanding the consistent denials of Achary, and the judge had also failed ‘to find that on the totality of the evidence that there was a reasonable doubt that the elements of the charges had been proved and therefore it was unsafe and unsatisfactory to convict’.
The decision of the Court of Appeal on this matter will be given next week on August 18.
The Prosecution had confirmed to the Daily Post that it will also appeal against the suspended sentence given to Achary, however, no specific date had been confirmed so far.
The 14 days given for appeal will lapse on August 16.
SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST