NEWS

Brutality Problem Wider Than Police: Gates

The problem of violence in the community is wider than just Police. We need to eradicate violence from our society. This was a comment made yesterday by Chief Justice Anthony
18 Feb 2017 10:46
Brutality Problem Wider Than Police: Gates
Director for Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission Ashwin Raj (left), and Police Commissioner Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho during the Fiji Access to Justice Project workshop yesterday. Photo: Jone Luvenitoga

The problem of violence in the community is wider than just Police. We need to eradicate violence from our society.

This was a comment made yesterday by Chief Justice Anthony Gates at the Fiji Access to Justice Project workshop.

The workshop was held at the Holiday Inn, Suva and was attended by 40 participants.

Chief Justice Gates said the eradication of violence from society was their noble aim.

He also said they were more concerned with the First Hour procedure to see that they are removing violence from the investigation process.

“We have heard those comments made like ‘well, we will get it out of him’ or ‘this is the only medicine they understand.’

“Well, neither of those is right.

“It looks like we got a very promising start and we are moving ahead,” he said.

The First Hour procedure ensures a person had access to a lawyer within an hour of arrest or detainment.

Chief Justice Gates said the First Hour procedure and video of interview was the first step in removing violence from the investigation process and from our community.

“The civil society made it obvious to the community that the old practices are no longer tolerated, favoured or thought effective,” he said.

“With the improvement process reformed gives further encouragement to expand the programme increase the number of pilot centres.

“Co-operation of defence lawyers to attend caution interviews at three in the morning is also needed to see this project progress even further to eradicate violence.”

Currently, the framework of the access to justice project is being piloted at the Criminal Investigation Department headquarters and the Totogo Police Station in Suva.

Head of the European Union Delegation for the Pacific, Ambassador Andrew Jacobs said yesterday was a very significant step as the programme moved ahead.

“Brutality is something that really does need to be tackled,” he said.

“Torture is something that needs to be addressed.

“But there has been a significant change and progress in Fiji.”

Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission director Ashwin Raj said civil society played a part in developing the First Hour procedure.

“Our goal is collective which is about protection and promotion of fundamental human rights, affording human dignity to all in Fiji and working towards an ethic of constructive engagement,” Mr Raj said.

Edited by Rusiate Mataika

Feedback:  ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj



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