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News

Complaint against Police Commissioner dismissed

October 16, 2015 3:34 am

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Christopher Pryde, has concluded that there is no substance to the complaint by Tevita Ralulu against Police Commissioner, Major-General Ben Groenwald.

Ralulu had lodged an official complaint against the Police Commissioner saying he had interfered with investigations into an incident involving a South African diplomat or that he had attempted to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.

The matter related to a 59 year old diplomat at the South African High Commission who was involved in a car accident.

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The diplomat was allegedly under the influence of alcohol and the vehicle he was driving hit another vehicle killing its driver.

Director of Public Prosecutions Christopher Pryde said, the Police Commissioner is empowered under the Constitution to control and direct the operations of the Police Force. The Police Commissioner therefore was well within his constitutional powers and the law to direct his officers to release the South African suspect from custody since the suspect was entitled to diplomatic immunity under Article 29 of the Vienna Convention as reflected in Fiji’s Diplomatic and Privileges Act 1971.

Furthermore, Article 29 of the Vienna Convention does not restrict immunity to only minor crimes as alleged in the complaint but applies to any criminal offence without restriction.

He says it is clear that the Police Commissioner acted appropriately and professionally in the circumstances and there is no evidence whatsoever of any criminal wrongdoing. Accordingly, there will be no further action in the matter.

In relation to the traffic accident, Pryde said, a decision on what charges, if any, will be made in relation to the traffic accident after Police have completed their investigations.

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