The brutal murder of Christe Chen: Court dismisses bail for Bradley Dawson, rejects SEX OFFENDER as character witness
LAUTOKA, FIJI: A Fiji judge rejected three character witnesses who wrote letters supporting bail for Bradley Dawson in a scathing statement. Dawson, who was accused of murdering his 36-year-old pharmacist wife Christe Chen in their luxury bungalow on a private Fiji island, has denied confessing to the murder. He pleaded not guilty to killing Chen.
Judge Riyaz Hamza pointed out that one of the witnesses was out on bail himself. “It is the opinion of this court that it is highly unsatisfactory for the applicant to be residing with a person who has been charged with serious offenses before this court, in the event of being granted bail,” Judge Riyaz Hamza wrote in the order dismissing Dawson’s bail application, according to Fox News.
Court documents revealed that one of the character witnesses, Johnnie Lee Berger, is an American national who is out on bail himself and facing pending sex assault charges. The judge further wrote that under Fiji law, in cases of domestic violence incidents, a defendant’s presumption in favor of bail is void. The court said that they have been given “strong circumstantial evidence” in the case, and Dawson is also a possible flight risk.
Previously, the judge was urged by Dawson's defense to set bail for his release as he is “not in good health”, Fox News reported. They insisted Dawson needs to consult doctors about his prescription medications. A filing also claimed Dawson’s mother was financially dependent on him and “will mentally suffer” if he remained in jail. In the bail application, Dawson’s attorney, Iqbal Khan said holding Dawson without bail until his trial would be a “substantial miscarriage of justice”. Dawson's trial could begin as late as 2024. Opposing the bail, prosecutors and Chen's family argued that Dawson was a flight risk.
Last month, Dawson had reportedly confessed to police to killing Chen, only to later claim she was alive when he left her after a drunken fight. Chen was reportedly beaten to death by Dawson, 38, during their honeymoon. Her body was found so brutally injured that it could not be embalmed. It had to be cremated before her parents could take her home to the US.
Chen was found dead on July 9, 2022, in the bathroom of the secluded Turtle Island Resort. She and her husband had checked into that hotel two days earlier. The two got married in February, three months after they met. While Chen worked as a pharmacist at Kroger, Dawson worked as an IT professional for Youth Villages, a non-profit that helps children.
The medical examiner ruled Chen's death a murder. It was found that she died from a traumatic brain injury caused by a brain bleed, severe traumatic head injuries, and multiple traumatic injuries to her body. Her cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.