Opinion

Pryde’s, Qiliho’s Stand In Murder Case Augurs Well For Future

The family of Jagdish Chand, brutally killed in 2010, must be shattered. Four men charged with his murder have walked free. Director of Public Prosecutions Christopher Pryde had little option
11 May 2016 08:59
Pryde’s, Qiliho’s Stand In Murder Case Augurs Well For Future
fijisun.com.fj

The family of Jagdish Chand, brutally killed in 2010, must be shattered. Four men charged with his murder have walked free.

Director of Public Prosecutions Christopher Pryde had little option but to file a nolle prosecui (discontinuance) in the trial of the four.

He decided to discontinue the case because “it was clear that each of the accused had received unexplained injuries at the time of their caution interview whilst in Police custody”. He added: “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 investigated.”

He said he was sending the files back to the Police for investigation. He made it clear the filing of nolle prosequi did not amount to an acquittal of the four. Mr Pryde said: “If further evidence is received from the Police it will be considered and the charge against the person may be filed afresh.”

What this means is that this case is not completely closed. The onus is now on the Police to do whatever it takes to find properly obtained evidence against any suspects that can be used in court. And bring to justice those responsible for this murder.

Commissioner of Police Major-General Sitiveni Qiliho’s response is positive and reassuring. He gave an undertaking that investigations would be thorough.

The period referred to in this case was 2010. The prevailing circumstances then, political or otherwise, were quite different compared to the situation today. The use of force by the Police to reduce crime was a major topic of discussion. There have been other cases involving members of the public and the Police in which the question has been raised as to what constitutes ‘reasonable force’ and what amounts to Police brutality.

Police brutality generally means that Police have deliberately and illegally applied excessive force, usually physical.

Good Police forces, around the world with Fiji included, generally follow similar standards and guidelines to prevent Police brutality.

Some of standards they follow include:


the prevailing circumstances whether the force was justified in the circumstances or whether it was excessive;


the nature and degree of the force used;


the seriousness of the offence which the Police were trying to prevent, or for which an arrest was being made;


if the individual was resisting arrest, the nature and degree of force used by the police in order to ensure that the arrest was successfully carried out;


training or guidance that the police office had undergone, for example, in relation to the use of batons.

Police generally should only use force as a last resort and within these guidelines. Never to extract information from suspects.

Unfortunately, there have been examples of what is no more than brutality by some officers.

This will not be tolerated today under Brigadier-General Qiliho’s leadership.

Policing here has come a long way.

Our Police officers have attended training on human rights and proper interrogation methods.

The changes were recognised by Rebecca Emery of Amnesty International who welcomed the latest development and praised Mr Pryde and Brigadier-General Qiliho for their stand.

As we talk about Police conduct we, at the same time, need to be mindful not to lose focus on those responsible for the murder of Jagdish Chand.

Let’s hope that the Police will obtain the evidence to arrest whoever is responsible and bring them to court to face justice. Let’s hope the measures Commissioner Qiliho takes will make it clear some of the ways of the past will not be tolerated.

And let’s hope this will be the last time Mr Pryde has to use a nolle prosequi in such circumstances.

NEMANI DELAIBATIKI

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 

Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
error: