NEWS

Qiliho vs Pryde

Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho has defended his earlier decision to reinstate Police officers charged in the Vilikesa Soko case. He said after weighing all the aspects of the issue: “I made
09 Feb 2016 12:32
Qiliho vs Pryde
Acting-Commisioner of Police Sitiveni Qiliho and Director of the Public Prosecutions.

Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho has defended his earlier decision to reinstate Police officers charged in the Vilikesa Soko case.

He said after weighing all the aspects of the issue: “I made the decision that it was in the public interest that these Police officers stayed on in the Fiji Police Force as part of the Taskforce Unit.”

But yesterday he announced that the Police officers had been suspended with full pay. (Full story on page 3).

His move followed a request from the Director of Public Prosecutions, Christopher Pryde.

Mr Pryde said last week that “it is unacceptable for Police officers charged with indictable offences to remain active in their positions while the matter is proceeding through the courts.”

He added: “Not only is there potential to prejudice the State’s case but having Police officers charged with offences such as perverting the course of justice has the effect of tainting any investigation with which they may be involved or associated.”

But Mr Pryde has not responded to Mr Qiliho’s latest statement.

Brigadier-General Qiliho, in his letter to Mr Pryde, highlighted “the critical importance of these Police officers to the Fiji Police Force, especially as part of the Taskforce Unit which was set up in late 2015 to combat the rise in violent crimes.”

He said: “These Police officers through this Taskforce Unit have been able to successfully prevent and foil numerous cases of attempted and planned robberies and other violent crimes including a major bank robbery in recent times including in the period after they were reinstated.

“As a result of the proactive actions of this Taskforce Unit, these Police officers are also State witnesses in over 30 criminal proceedings including aggravated robbery, theft, drug-related offences, murder and rape, all of which are pending before the Courts.

“The public’s expectation in eradicating house invasions, bank robberies and other violent organised crimes is of paramount importance. The rise of these crimes started again in 2014 and early 2015 and with the effective input from the Taskforce Unit, the public’s expectation was being met, although that is not to say such crimes have been completely eradicated. So I had to take into consideration the public interest.”

Feedback: litia.cava@fijisun.com.fj

 

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