23rd May 03:30 AM
He said we would get sick or die if we said anything about him – Alleged rape victim in Cokanauto trial
By Vijay Narayan, Swastika Singh and Naveel Krishant
Thursday 15/06/2017
Leader of Jezreel Lion of Judah Jone Cokanauto

The second state witness in the rape trial of the Leader of Jezreel Lion of Judah Jone Cokanauto has told the High Court that Cokanauto warned them that if they said anything about him or the prayer group then something bad would happen to them as they would either die or get sick.

The 33-year-old woman told the court that he would preach this a number of times every week as they had services every night and this teaching was not part of the Bible.

The woman said on the night of 5th July 2012 in Taveuni, while they were there for a big function that was to be held on the 7th of July, Cokanauto had asked her to bring some oil to massage him.

The 33-year-old said that they were staying at a house which belonged to Cokanauto and the women used to stay in the girl's dormitory, and Cokanauto’s office was also next to it.

The woman said while she was massaging him, Cokanauto’s wife was also sleeping in the same room and he kept on telling the alleged victim that her husband was jealous of her.

She told the court that after she had massaged him, he asked her to hug him and out of respect she did.

The woman then said that after she hugged him, he kissed her but this time she did not take off her clothes.

When asked by the prosecution what came to her mind, she said that she thought why he is touching her again as he had already redeemed her six years ago in Nadera.

She said that he also touched her private parts but she did not raise any alarm as she was confused.

The witness told the court that the next day she told her husband what had happened and he was disappointed.

The woman told the court that she left the church towards the end of the year 2012 as she did not agree with what was happening in the prayer group and she alleges that Cokanauto had also impregnated her sister-in-law.

When asked by the prosecution why she did not say anything when she left, she said that she feared that something would happen to her.

During cross‑examination, the defence counsel put to her that his Cokanauto never compared himself to Jesus to which she replied it was a lie as in the prayer group he referred to himself as the last prophet and was Jesus.

The defence lawyer, Sevuloni Valenitabua also put to her that his client never asked her to bring the oil and massage him to which the woman said that it happened.

She told the court that she did not give consent to Cokanauto to touch her private parts.

The witness also said that Cokanauto’s wife knew everything that was happening and even if she did wake her up, she could not do anything because she is scared of him and everyone in the camp feared him.

The first prosecution witness in the rape trial has also told the High Court that Cokanauto told her that she will die if she tells anyone about what had happened.

During the re-examination by prosecution lawyer, Meli Vosawale, she told the court that Cokanauto told her that whenever anyone asks about the two children, she should say that the father of the children is a Manoa Seru.

During the cross examination, defence counsel Simione Valenitabua put to the woman that the two children are not Cokanauto’s children as she has said because the offence did not happen.

The woman who was in tears, told the court that they are Cokanauto’s children and Cokanauto had sexual intercourse with her.

Cokanauto has pleaded not guilty to five counts of rape, four counts of indecent assault and one count of attempted rape before Justice Salesi Temo.

It is alleged that he committed the offences in Nasinu and Taveuni between 2005 and 2012.

The trial continues in the Suva High Court.

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