Crime & Court

Five Cops Front Court On Charges Related To Planting Drugs In Complainant’s Vehicle

The five are Police Constables Rusiate Tuga Ralase, 39, Simione Basulu, 29, Samuela Antonio, 24, Orisi Tukana, 24 and Police Inspector Apisalome Vesikula, 37.
23 Feb 2021 10:37
Five Cops Front Court On Charges Related To Planting Drugs In Complainant’s Vehicle
Apisalome Vesikula, Orisi Tukana, Rusiate Tuga Ralase, Samuela Antonio and Simione Basulu. Photos: Leon Lord.

Police attempted to block the media from entering a courtroom where five Police officers yesterday appeared on charges related to planting drugs in the vehicle of a 23-year-old complainant.

The five are Police Constables Rusiate Tuga Ralase, 39, Simione Basulu, 29, Samuela Antonio, 24, Orisi Tukana, 24 and Police Inspector Apisalome Vesikula, 37.

They appeared at the Magistrates Court in Suva before Magistrate Jeremiah Savou.

An altercation between the media and Police officers who escorted their own, broke out when they blocked the media personnel from entering the courtroom.

Before this, the Police officers who were charged were seen to arrive at the courthouse about two hours earlier than their appearance time.

A video footage showed that the accused were hidden in the Juvenile Bureau Office from the public eye.

The charges:

Ralase and Basulu are jointly charged with one count of abuse of office.

It is alleged that the duo on April 25, 2020, in Suva, being employed in the public service namely as Police Constables, without any lawful basis arrested the 23-year-old complainant in abuse of the authority of their office which was an arbitrary act and prejudicial to the rights of the complainant.

Ralase, Basulu, Antonio, Tukana and Vesikula are jointly charged with one count of conspiracy to defeat justice.

It is alleged that on the same day, the five Police officers conspired with each other, knowingly and maliciously to accuse the 23-year-old complainant of an offence under Section 5 of the Illicit Drug and Control Act 2005.

It is alleged that the five Police officers gathered methamphetamine from an unsanctioned raid and planted the bag of drugs under the seat of the vehicle belonging to the complainant.

In court

State prosecutor from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Saif Shah told the court that he was not aware whether the officers were interdicted as yet and that he did not have any objections for bail to be granted.

Mr Shah also told the court that all the five officers were based at the Totogo Police Station when the alleged offences took place.

Magistrate Savou granted bail to all the five Police officers on their personal bail bond of $500 each.

The officers are ordered not to interfere with the prosecution witnesses, not to commit any arresting offences while on bail and not to change their respective residential addresses without informing the court.

The matter has been adjourned for plea on April 23.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback: ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj



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