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Judge Rules On Whether Police Can Be Sued

Judge Rules On Whether Police Can Be Sued
July 25
12:51 2018

The High Court in Lautoka has cleared a line on whether police officers can be sued for damages by acquitted persons in criminal cases.

And it has been ruled that they cannot be sued for the discharge of their duty.

A civil suit was brought before Justice Jude Nanayakkara by Roneel Prasad of Sydney, Australia.

Mr Prasad was arrested after a complaint of rape was lodged against him by a Shereen Lata of Ba in 2013.

Ms Lata later went on to inform the court during the criminal trial that she had lied about the rape allegation and all charges against Mr Prasad were dropped after prosecution filed a nolle prosequi.

In October 2014, Mr Prasad sued the complainant – Ms Lata, the investigating officer in the criminal case, Corporal Ana Navunisinu, the Commissioner of Police and the Attorney-General.

In a thorough ruling, Justice Nanayakkara raised the pertinent question on the types of civil suits police officers open themselves to in their bid to do their work.

“Where no action for malicious prosecution would lie, it would be strange indeed if an acquitted defendant could recover damages for negligent investigation,” Justice Nanayakkara said.

“Finally, all other considerations apart, it would plainly be contrary to public policy, in my opinion, to prejudice the fearless and efficient discharge by police officers of their vitally important duty of investigating crime by requiring them to act under the shadow of a potential action for damages for negligence by the suspect.”

Justice Nanayakkara further ordered Mr Prasad to pay Corporal Navunisinu $1500 in costs for bringing the action against her and has dismissed the action brought forward by Mr Prasad.

Edited by Percy Kean

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