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Dignity Restored For Police Strip Search Victim

Ranjita Devi, of Nasea in Labasa, was acquitted of all charges filed by Police in 2017.
02 Oct 2022 18:11
Dignity Restored For Police Strip Search Victim
Ranjita Devi (middle) was acquitted of all charges filed by Police in 2017, with her Lawyer, Jitendra Reddy (right)and associate lawyer from Kaushik Kumar at the Magistrates Court in Labasa on September 29, 2022. Photo: Sampras Anand

Ranjita Devi, of Nasea in Labasa, was acquitted of all charges filed by Police in 2017.

Devi was charged with a count of giving a false and misleading statement to a Police officer on January 23, 2017.

She claimed to have been assaulted, strip-searched and had money stolen by the investigating Police officer.

 

The assault and strip search allegedly happened on January 21, 2017, after police raided her market stall in Labasa and the final avenue they resorted to was body searching Devi and her husband.

Devi was then brought to the Labasa Market Police post and strip-searched in a passage that apparently was visible to the public.

Her husband was also searched in the market master’s room in front of the staff.

 

However yesterday, Magistrate Senileba Levaci, acquitted the charges filed against Devi at the Magistrates Court in Labasa.

Police prosecutor, Constable Vishal Verma, applied for the discontinuance of charges under Section 169 (2) (b) (ii) of the Crimes Act.

However, Defence Counsel Lawyer, Jitendra Reddy, objected to this sub-section of the law to just discharge his client and told the court that an application for acquittal of charges for his client was better suited.

 

Mr Reddy said prosecution was not able to give any reasons why the charges were dropped.

The dropping of charges prevented Police from further investigating and reopening the case to prevent future victimisation of his client.

Magistrate Levaci considered the application by prosecution and the submission by the counsel.

 

She told the court that there was no proper reason provided by the prosecution for the withdrawal of the charges, but, accepted the withdrawal was mandated by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Magistrate Levaci passed the verdict that the court viewed Devi to be properly acquitted.

Devi’s new lease of life

 

Devi walked out of the Labasa Magistrates Court after years of longing for a favourable judgment.

“Justice prevails and I want to thank my lawyer, Mr Reddy, for helping to fight my case,” she said.

Due to the charges laid and community shame, Devi got separated from her husband in 2018 and had to financially support her two children.

 

She plans to file charges against Police for the actions and unethical charges against her.

Story By:

Sampras Anand/ sampras.anand@fijisun.com.fj



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