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
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