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The commissioner said he would not favour anyone, even if the accused was the prime minister

Fiji Times Online

Police promise probe

Nasik Swami
Saturday, July 26, 2014

POLICE Commissioner Ben Groenewald has assured Fiji he will investigate all complaints against government and police, including those who Prime Minister Rear Admiral (Ret) Voreqe Bainimarama previously said he would stand by.

Mr Groenewald said he would ensure justice to all those whose complaints had not been addressed, and he was ready to reopen cases where there was merit for further investigation.

He made these comments in response to People’s Democratic Party leader Felix Anthony’s statement challenging him to address human rights injustices allegedly caused by members of Fiji’s disciplinary forces.

Prime Minister Rear Admiral (Ret) Voreqe Bainimarama, on March 8 last year, said he would stand by his men, police officers or anyone else, who may be named in investigations in the brutal beating of two men shown in an online video. Quoted in media reports, he had said while people were speculating on who all were involved as shown in the footage and were saying excessive force was used, people should know that security personnel had worked hard to protect the citizens of Fiji from hardened criminals.

But the commissioner said he would not favour anyone, even if the accused was the prime minister, a politician or a police officer.

“If a person breaks the law, we will investigate and will be charged accordingly,” Mr Groenewald told The Fiji Times.

“It doesn’t matter who the person is. Whether it’s a police, politician or whether it is any person of the public, the same process will be followed and we will submit the case to the DPP.”

At a press conference yesterday, Mr Anthony also claimed he was beaten and tortured by police and military officers, among other civilians, and the force had failed to investigate the matter so far.

Mr Groenewald said he was aware of Mr Antony’s accusation.

“I saw the docket a week ago and the case was withdrawn because the complainant never submitted his medical report as was requested.

“I spoke to the divisional chief of CID in the West.

“He assured me that after many requests to the complainant to submit his medical report, he did not submit his medical report and the case was closed because of no co-operation from the complainant.”

Mr Groenewald said he was more than welcome to table the matter with Mr Anthony.

On the investigations into the alleged brutal beating of two prison escapees last year, he said he was only made aware of the case three weeks ago.

“I requested and indicated that the case has been sent to the public prosecutor and we have received the docket.”

Mr Anthony invited the commissioner to investigate not only the alleged beatings of the prisoners but also the beatings of citizens who were subjected to intimidation.

“So the Police Commissioner, I believe, has got much to do if he is to get recognition for the work that he is supposed to be doing in this country.

“We’ll wait to see how the commissioner will act upon complaints that have been made against this government as far as human rights abuses have gone in the country,” he said.

Mr Groenewald responded if there was concrete evidence or complaints by public that police did not properly investigate, they could approach them and “I will be more than glad to reopen any case if there is a need for that”.

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          Powerful reassurance – Fiji Times Online

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Powerful reassurance

Fred Wesley
Saturday, July 26, 2014

The reassurance yesterday by Commissioner of Police Ben Groenewald that he will investigate all complaints against government and the police is encouraging.

Obviously a case in point is the video that went viral online, showing a group of men brutally assaulting two handcuffed men.

While the circumstances surrounding the video are sketchy, the images are disturbing and shocking.

It shows two men being brutally assaulted by members of the group who are seen using batons and a metal pipe.

Another man is beaten on the ground. Then a dog is seen attacking him.

The abuse of the two men is traumatic.

What appears on video is horrifying and will obviously take some time to digest and get over.

What is important now is the fact that Mr Groenewald has said he would ensure justice to all those whose complaints had not been addressed, and he was ready to reopen cases where there was merit for further investigation.

He was responding to a statement by People’s Democratic Party leader Felix Anthony challenging him to address human rights injustices allegedly caused by members of Fiji’s disciplined forces.

The reassurance by the commissioner should serve as a reminder of the importance of law and order.

It does stand to reason then that the people of Fiji will embrace the powerful words of the police force’s top man.

For the men and women in blue, this is a reminder of the important role they play in the mechanics of how our country eventually pans out.

What the commissioner needs is support from his officers and from the people of Fiji.

It is with this show of support that a strong and vibrant force can take shape. The force needs a solid foundation to build from.

For what it is worth, policemen and women are reflections of society and they carry the hopes and aspirations of people who believe in law and order.

They are like beacons of hope, ensuring there is a balance in society and in our lives.

They must have pride in the uniform they don and appreciate the fact that they are carriers of a torch that places righteousness on a very high plane. They are our last bastion of hope in the fight against crime.

They are pillars that our communities and our nation will lean on to move forward with confidence. To an extent, they help us live and enjoy our lives to the brim.

But with the power and authority they wield comes a great sense of responsibility.

We applaud the direction the commissioner is taking and encourage support for the cause.

The onus is now on each member of the force to do their best and to live up to the expectations of their leader and the people of this country.

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No so long ago when the new Commissioner of Police called me personally to reassure me my complaints were being fully investigated and that his PA would be responding to my letter to him, I though it was a ‘breath of fresh air’ and reassuring.However, my complaints remains unresolved today and no updates have been received despite the personal assurance of the Commissioner.

The accused in my complaints is the Prime Minister and judging by the time the straight forward breach of the law has taken to be investigated, I’m not sure I will hold my breath to see if the rule of law in this complaint will be applied at all let alone equally.

My initial expectation that the new Commissioner would have a positive impact on the enforcement of the ‘rule of law’ equally to all citizens regardless of ones status is slowly but surely disappearing.

Mick Beddoes
Sabeto

 

 

 

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6 thoughts on “The commissioner said he would not favour anyone, even if the accused was the prime minister

  1. Saying all the right things but action (not rhetoric) will go along way in rebuilding public confidence on the tarnished police image.

  2. No so long ago when the new Commissioner of Police called me personally to reassure me my complaints were being fully investigated and that his PA would be responding to my letter to him, I though it was a ‘breath of fresh air’ and reassuring.

    However, my complaints remains unresolved today and no updates have been received despite the personal assurance of the Commissioner.

    The accused in my complaints is the Prime Minister and judging by the time the straight forward breach of the law has taken to be investigated, I’m not sure I will hold my breath to see if the rule of law in this complaint will be applied at all let alone equally.

    My initial expectation that the new Commissioner would have a positive impact on the enforcement of the ‘rule of law’ equally to all citizens regardless of ones status is slowly but surely disappearing.

    Mick Beddoes
    Sabeto

  3. They hired him and they can fire him. What a serious load of horse shit. He will do what he is told or they will send him back to Africa – quick smart.

  4. Most dogs bark, but good guard dogs can snarl and pretend to attack. But real good guard dogs actually attack the enemy and bite. This has the effect of warning potential thieves, murderers, intruders and the like not to dare.

    By the sound of his reported comments and answers to questions, the Chief Guard Dog of the nation has made a few barks. I believe that simply shouts his presence and tells us, “I am here, in station, watching you.” He has barked, and that proves he is a dog. But what many of us are really interested to know whether or not he is a good guard dog.

    The scent of the enemy and the blood is still ever present. Thank God for modern technology ( video, internet, etc. ) Can the Chief guard dog capture the scent of many past crimes such as the torture of escaped prisoners. Bettre still, can he see the men which all of us can see? Most importantly, what will he do about it? Will he continue barking, or will he attack the enemies of the people, even though it turns out that the criminal masterminds behind these tortures and killings and frauds and treason happen to be the dicatator himself and his legal adviser the Fiji First party general attorney. Now, that is the question hanging over you Com Pol sir.

  5. Well said Tomasi. Now its over to you (Chief Guard Dog) Com Pol. We all know you have higher personal integrity to protect, compared to the gutter integrity of the dictaor who hired you and your associates in the international community will be interesred to know how you will fare in your Fiji outing!

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