Meli Bainimarama refused bail in new case of domestic violence offences

Meli Bainimarama refused bail in new case of domestic violence offences

By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 06/12/2023
Ratu Meli Bainimarama leaves Parramatta Local Court in June. [Image: AAP/DAN HIMBRECHTS]

Meli Bainimarama, the son of Fiji’s former prime minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, has pleaded not guilty to a string of new domestic violence offences, including intentionally choking without consent and assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and he has also been refused bail by the Parramatta Local Court.

According to court reports by the Sydney Morning Herald, 36 year old Meli Bainimarama is separately defending a raft of other domestic violence charges, in which police allege he choked a woman, bit her on the face and body, hit her across the ear and sent her an intimate video he recorded without her consent.

A hearing for those charges was left part-heard in Parramatta Local Court in June and adjourned until April next year.

Now, the Herald says it can reveal that while he was on bail for those charges, Meli Bainimarama was arrested at a Guildford home on December 4th and separately charged with intentionally choking a person without consent, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and property damage.

According to court documents, it’s alleged that shortly after 3am, Bainimarama intentionally or recklessly damaged a woman’s car key, assaulted her and intentionally choked her without her consent.

He was arrested at 10.45am and taken to Granville Police Station, where he was refused bail.

Bainimarama appeared briefly at Parramatta Local Court yesterday and pleaded not guilty to the fresh charges. His lawyer, Javid Faiz, did not apply for bail, and it was formally refused. During the hearing in June for 18 separate domestic violence-related charges, to which Bainimarama also pleaded not guilty, Parramatta Local Court heard the charges allegedly related to incidents in Sydney between February and May 2022.


Bainimarama (right) has been charged with fresh domestic violence-related offencesCREDIT:AAP/DAN HIMBRECHTS

At the time, police prosecutor Acting Inspector Darren Pearce told the court the first alleged incident occurred on the morning of February 19th, when Bainimarama and the woman were driving to Sydney Airport.

Police allege Bainimarama hit the woman across the face with an open palm while they were driving and pulled her hair, causing the woman to fight him off – breaking some of her nails in the process.

A short time later, Bainimarama allegedly punched the woman to the left side of her head, and grabbed her by the head, scratching her face and neck and causing ringing to her ears.

He said the woman dropped Bainimarama at the airport, but he missed his flight. On the drive from the airport to Roselands, where his cousin lived, Bainimarama allegedly grabbed the woman by the hair, verbally abused her, and left red marks on her face.

Pearce described numerous other allegations of assault, including Bainimarama putting his hands around the woman’s neck and restricting her breathing “for a period of time” in late February, at her home in Bligh Park.

He is also accused of choking her and putting pressure on her airway on a further three occasions between March and April.

The prosecutor told the court Bainimarama allegedly pinned the woman down and bit her on the face and body, pushed her into a wall, and attacked her at a home in Redfern in May.

Bainimarama’s barrister, AJ Karim, said he would raise issues of self-defence with respect to some of those charges during the June hearing. He said almost all parts of the case were in issue and the hearing would take longer than the one day originally allotted.

The barrister also raised the complainant’s criminal history, including one instance of fraud. He said this had the potential to affect her credibility when making “extremely serious” allegations against his client.

Bainimarama is next due to face Parramatta Local Court on the fresh charges on December 19th.

The part-heard hearing for the 18 domestic violence-related charges is set to resume on April 3rd next year.

Source : sydneymorningherald

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