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No charges laid against officers who arrested Ratu Epenisa Cakobau

March 28, 2019 4:45 pm
Director of Public Prosecutions, Christopher Pryde [left] and Bau Chief - Ratu Epenisa Cakobau

No charges will be laid against any police or military officers involved in the arrest of Bau Chief – Ratu Epenisa Cakobau in June last year.

This has been confirmed by Director of Public Prosecutions, Christopher Pryde this afternoon.

Police was alerted to a potential breach of the peace on Bau Island when it was learned that the installation ceremony for a new Vunivalu of Bau was to take place despite a direction by the Itaukei Lands and Fisheries Commission for the installation not to proceed.

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The Police had been requested by the Itaukei Lands and Fisheries Commission to prevent the installation from taking place.

A security assessment indicated that the situation may become volatile so Ratu Cakobau was arrested as a precautionary measure.

A police complaint of criminal intimidation and criminal trespass was reported by Ratu Cakobau as a result of his arrest.

Two other people also filed police complaints in relation to the circumstances surrounding the arrest.

Following a review of the evidence, the DPP concluded that Ratu Cakobau’s arrest had been effected lawfully and there was no substance to the complaints.

The arrest was justified under section 17 A of the Public Order Act which gives authority to the police to detain without warrant someone who “has acted or is about to act in a manner prejudicial to public safety or the preservation of the peace.”

The DPP further conclude the actions of the security forces in effecting the arrest were justified and proportionate to the perceived threat to public safety on Bau Island at the time.

Pryde says the security forces are subject to the law governing arrests and if there was any evidence they had acted outside the law in effecting the arrest, charges would have been laid.

Having reviewed the evidence, Pryde says he’s satisfied the security forces acted within the law at all times.

The files have been returned to the Police.

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