4 Walk Free Over Mur­der Trial Fear

QILIHO OR­DERS IN­VES­TI­GA­TION AF­TER DPP HALTS PROS­E­CU­TION BE­CAUSE WORRY OF­FI­CERS USED FORCE TO GET CON­FES­SIONS; PRAISE FROM AMNESTY IN­TER­NA­TIONAL

Fiji Sun - - Front Page - CHARLES CHAM­BERS

A2010 mur­der case against four men has been dis­con­tin­ued be­cause of con­cerns con­fes­sions were ob­tained by Po­lice us­ing force.

Di­rec­tor of Public Prose­cu­tions, Christo­pher Pryde, filed a nolle

pros­e­qui (dis­con­tin­u­ance) in the High Court in Lautoka and was send­ing the files back to Po­lice for in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Bri­gadierGen­eral Si­tiveni Qiliho said he re­spected the de­ci­sion and would in­ves­ti­gate the al­le­ga­tions. Re­becca Emery of Amnesty In­ter­na­tional told Pa­cific Beat of Aus­tralian Broad­cast­ing Com­mis­sion that she wel­comed the de­ci­sion. She said this was a real op­por­tu­nity to in­ves­ti­gate this case and come to a conclusion. She recog­nised the work done by both the DPP and Bri­gadier-Gen­eral Qiliho. She said Bri­gadier-Gen­eral Qiliho had said in public that he wanted to take the Po­lice in a new di­rec­tion on hu­man rights and train­ing had been con­ducted. She said the tide was turn­ing and the DPP was push­ing back. Ji­ten­dra Ku­mar, Sub­hash Chand, Parma Nand and Deo Chand were each charged with one count of mur­der for the death of Jag­ish Chand in 2010. Mr Pryde said: “It was clear that each of the ac­cused had re­ceived un­ex­plained in­juries at the time of their cau­tion in­ter­view whilst in Po­lice cus­tody. “It also ap­pears that duress was placed on the in­ter­view­ing of­fi­cers by their su­pe­ri­ors to deny all al­le­ga­tions of as­sault. This is a very se­ri­ous al­le­ga­tion which needs to be fully in­ves­ti­gated. “There be­ing no ad­mis­si­ble ev­i­dence against the ac­cused other than the con­fes­sion state­ments I am of the view that in these cir-

cum­stances it would not be proper to con­tinue with the pros­e­cu­tion. “I am there­fore end­ing the pros­e­cu­tion and send­ing the file back to the Po­lice Com­mis­sioner to in­ves­ti­gate the al­le­ga­tions of as­sault in cus­tody.”

Mr Pryde fur­ther said: “The fil­ing of a nolle pros­e­qui does not amount to an ac­quit­tal of the four per­sons.

“If fur­ther ev­i­dence is re­ceived from the Po­lice it will be con­sid­ered and the charge against each per­son may be filed afresh.

“Un­til that time, the mat­ter is at an end.” Bri­gadier-Gen­eral Qiliho said he had dis­cus­sions with the DPP last week re­gard­ing the de­ci­sion to file a nolle pros­e­qui against four men. “I re­spect the de­ci­sion made and have given my as­sur­ances that a thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tion will be car­ried out ac­cord­ingly with re­gards to the al­le­ga­tions made,” he said. “We will be mak­ing fur­ther com­ments once the in­ves­ti­ga­tions are com­pleted.” Mean­while the four men were happy and re­lieved . They said the case, which had haunted them all these years, was now over.

Their lawyer, Iqbal Khan, had filed sub­mis­sions with the Di­rec­tor of Public Prose­cu­tions re­quest­ing they re­con­sider the ev­i­dence that they had for pros­e­cut­ing the four. Mr Khan said the ev­i­dence the DPP’s of­fice had was un­re­li­able thus his re­quest for the DPP to re­con­sider. “Jus­tice has been done,” Mr Khan said. Deo Chand said the past six years had put a lot of stress on his fam­ily. “I am ex­tremely happy and thank Mr Khan for the tremen­dous work he has done.” Sub­hash Chand said they were “charged for noth­ing.”

“I have lived with this for the past six years and it has wor­ried me ev­ery day.” Parma Nand said he called his fam­ily af­ter the case and his fam­ily, es­pe­cially his chil­dren who were happy. Ji­ten­dra Ku­mar said he had faith in Mr Khan, but the past six years were wor­ry­ing times for him. “I am not mar­ried as I did not know what would have hap­pened, but per­haps now I will find a wife,” he said. Edited by Ne­mani De­laibatiki

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