The Suva High Court yesterday convicted
22-year-old Isoa Codrokadroka of murdering
Brisbane man Dale Groeger, 22, in his Suva hotel room in May last year.
Justice Gerard Winter said he had no option but
to jail Codrokadroka for life after the court's
three assessors delivered their unanimous verdict
of guilty at the end of the five-day trial.
Groeger's parents were present in the court to hear the verdict read out.
The assessors accepted evidence that Codrokadroka
strangled Groeger when the pair got into a fight
in Groeger's room at the Peninsula Hotel on May 7, 2005.
They rejected defence claims the Fijian man was acting in self-defence.
Groeger, a former model, had arrived alone in
Fiji two days earlier for a holiday.
Groeger and Codrokadroka met on the day of the
murder on a bus travelling to the capital city and shared a bottle of rum.
On arrival in Suva, the two men checked into the
hotel and then proceeded to party at various
nightclubs before returning to the hotel room where the murder took place.
State prosecutor Wilisoni Kurusiqila told the
court that after an argument over missing money,
Codrokadroka attacked Groeger, hitting him,
throwing him against the wall and then strangling him with his bare hands.
He said the defendant walked away with Groeger's shoes, bag, watch and money.
Codrokadroka's lawyer had argued the accused was
acting in self-defence while resisting the
victim's forceful attempts to engage him in a homosexual act.