Fiji Police Used ‘Unlawful Procedures’ In Controversial Arrest

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Commissioner starts disciplinary procedures against officer

By Shalveen Chand

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Oct. 10, 2014) – Unlawful procedures were followed leading up to the arrest and detention of retired school teacher Josefa Bilitaki, says Commissioner of Police Ben Groenewald.

In a statement issued yesterday, Mr Groenewald said police had started disciplinary procedure against the police officers involved in the arrest.

Mr Bilitaki was arrested from his Qauia home on the night of September 26.

He alleged he was taken by police and military personnel on allegations of annoying a person.

"Following an internal investigation into the detention of Mr Joseva Bilitaki, it appears that certain processes were not carried out according to the law. For example, the seizure of his mobile phone and his arrest and detention," Mr Groenewald said.

"The police Director of Internal Affairs is currently dealing with the departmental procedures against the officers involved.

"I can also confirm that an investigation has commenced after the receipt of a formal complaint from Mr Bilitaki of his alleged assault by the arresting team."

Mr Bilitaki alleged he was assaulted before being taken to the Totogo Police Station.

He said because of the assault, his health deteriorated and had to be hospitalised.

Mr Groenewald said the complaint would be submitted to the Office of the Director Public Prosecutions once completed.

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