Judge Slams Cop After Man In Custody Escapes

A judge told a Police officer yesterday that if he was the officer’s superior he would have sacked him because he was “slack on the job.” Justice Salesi Temo made
28 Apr 2017 11:00
Judge Slams Cop After Man In Custody Escapes
A police officer mans the courthouse cellblock after convicted prisoner Deshwar Dutt escaped under the escort of a police officer on on April 27th, 2017. Photo:Jone Luvenitoga

A judge told a Police officer yesterday that if he was the officer’s superior he would have sacked him because he was “slack on the job.”

Justice Salesi Temo made these remarks after the Police officer, Sepeti Tabaiwalu, told him in the High Court in Suva that a man in his custody had escaped.

“I would suggest to your superiors that you be removed from guard duty,” said Justice Temo.

Deshwar Kishore Dutt was being escorted by Mr Tabaiwalu to court to hear Justice Temo deliver his judgment when Dutt escaped.

Justice Temo convicted Dutt in absentia on two counts of aggravated robbery.

Mr Tabaiwalu said that while he was escorting Dutt to court, he saw that his shoe lace was untied.

He further said that he asked Dutt to wait while he bent down to tie his shoe lace.

After that, when he looked up, he found that Dutt had escaped while he was still handcuffed.

Justice Temo highlighted that Dutt had a record for escaping lawful custody.

Dutt, who was involved in two separate aggravated robberies as a getaway driver on July 20, 2014, would be sentenced today.

The court heard that Dutt, with four other masked men, broke into the houses with a pinch-bar. They ransacked two houses and stole cash and assorted items to the total value of $165,863.

It was further stated in court that a family was attacked while they were in their rooms and a three-year-old child was thrown against a wall.

“This is a cruel home invasion and in my court you don’t look for mercy,” said Justice Temo.

A bench warrant has been issued for Dutt’s arrest.


Qiliho disappointed

Police Commissioner Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho says he is disappointed with the laxity of Mr Tabaiwalu.

Brigadier-General Qiliho said: “What has been done is unacceptable. It is disappointing and the priority for us is finding that out.

“Certainly an enquiry will be convened to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the escape and if there is certainly neglect on the part of the officer, he will be interdicted immediately while we continue the disciplinary process.

“Why I said am disappointed, because the Police have spent a lot of time and resources in apprehending this person and getting him off the streets and now due to the laxity of one Police officer, this person is out there again and he could go out there and recommit similar offences.

“That is why it is disappointing for me and I come down hard on disciplinary actions on such issues if neglect is proven because we have spent man power hours, man power resources and other resources like money and time in getting this person off the streets and then the laxity of the person allows this to happen, I cannot just condone that.

“I have been taking tough measures on this and my actions will gradually increase intentionally on how I deal with this.

“That’s why I have put it out that if I have taken disciplinary actions and this continues to recur I will increase it and if it means removing people from the Force, I will have to take that action.”

Edited by Jonathan Bryce




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