Fiji international Ratuniyarawa facing jail after admitting sexual offences

Api Ratuniyarawa pleaded guilty to two charges of assault by penetration and one charge of sexual assault; the 37-year-old was released on conditional bail with the case adjourned until January 9 for sentencing

Api Ratuniyarawa, a Fiji international, faces jail time after confessing to a slew of sexual offenses a few days prior to his scheduled appearance for the Barbarians.

The 37-year-old entered a guilty plea to two counts of assault by penetration and one count of sexual assault when he appeared before Cardiff Crown Court.

On November 4, the lock was supposed to be warming up for the Barbarians versus Wales at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium.

The offences were committed against three women and took place between October 31 and November 2 this year, the court heard.

Regarding one of the three women, Ratuniyarawa, of The Orchard, Kislingbury, Northamptonshire, refuted two further accusations of sexual assault.

The pleas were acceptable to the prosecution, they added, and they encouraged the court to set a date for sentence.

The Premiership team London Irish fell into receivership in the summer, leaving the father-of-four—who has also played for Northampton Saints and in France—without a club, the court heard.

He was hoped to get a new playing contract after playing for the Barbarians invitational squad, but he was made to file for benefits instead.

Ruth Smith, defending, asked for the defendant to be released on bail and for a pre-sentence report to be prepared.

“The defendant has been on conditional bail, and he is aware of the significance of his pleas and the type of sentence that flows from such pleas,” she stated.

“He has been subjected to extremely strict circumstances, and the main cause of these issues is alcohol usage.

“He has been a rugby player in the UK for a considerable amount of time and has strong links to the country.

Two of his children were born in the UK, and he resides here with his wife and four small children, all of whom have the legal right to do so. He poses no threat to flight.

“He needs to take a number of important steps for his family, including getting mitigating materials and transferring the tenancy of their home to his wife.

“The defendant provides all of the family’s income. He was just hired by London Irish, who tragically folded in May 2023. He was in Cardiff to see the Barbarians play.

“A contract was expected to follow from it, but naturally, due to these circumstances, it did not.

He had to seek for assistance for his family as a result. Once more, those are not entirely implemented. He has scheduled a number of meetings to ensure his family’s financial security.”

Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clarke, The Recorder of Cardiff, released Ratuniyarawa on conditional bail.

This entails staying at his home address, adhering to a nighttime curfew, regularly reporting to his local police station, giving up his passport, staying away from any establishments with a license, and only visiting Wales for business.

“Now you have pleaded guilty to these offences the case will be adjourned until January 9 next year for sentence,” she said.

“I am going to order a pre-sentence report but you should read nothing into that, neither should you read anything into the fact that I am going to release you on conditional bail.”

Additionally, Ratuniyarawa was added to the register of sexual offenders.

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