News and Comments Tuesday 29 May 2014

TUI NAMOSI SAYS SUPPORT GOVERNMENT.  Ratu Suliano Matanitobua is calling on everyone to support government as it prepares for the 2014 elections. Matanitobua says  the reforms implemented by the government will benefit all Fijians and it is time to set all differences aside and support them in their efforts. A former politician and member of parliament himself, Ratu Suliano is happy with the developments that have been taking place in rural areas with many now having access to electricity, tap water, basic health and education.

MEANWHILE IN BAU, the Vunivalu title, that requires a unanimous vote, is still undecided. One suspects the indecision is due to the contenders having different views on how much or how little the Kubuna confederacy should support the Bainimarama government's plans leading in to the 2014 election.

THE ECONOMY. Prof Biman Prasad and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Kaiyum exchange views in an intelligent and courteous way—which is as it should be. Biman also had some ideas on investment and confidence. I shall  publish the main part  of Biman's argument in next Saturday's Weekend Reading.

COURAGE TO CHANGE. In closing the Crime Management workshop last week Police Commissioner Brigadier General Ioane Naivalurua said his hope is to see Police officers with a lot of courage to correct the wrongs, and officers who live and speak the truth within the force.

NAZHAT SHAMEEM'S WISH LIST ON POLICE INTERVIEWS. This is an extract from the former High Court  judge's address to the Crime Management Workshop held for police officers earlier last week. Scroll down to read the full address published in last Saturday's Weekend Reading.

"Let me paint for you, a scenario that I would like to see practised by every police station in Fiji.

1. No person is investigated unless and until there are  reasonable grounds to suspect that a person has committed a criminal offence.This is an objective test.

2. When a person is required for police questioning, it will be clear whether the person  is a suspect or a volunteer. A suspect may also be a volunteer, but as soon as a volunteer becomes a suspect, the caution will be administered, and no conversation will be held with the suspect unless it is (a) under caution, and (b) recorded either in the police notebook or in interview notes.

3. As soon as person is in custody, which means that he or she is not free to leave police custody, the person will be arrested by a person of his or her own gender.

4. At the time of arrest the suspect will be told of the reasons for arrest, the right to remain silent and the right to obtain legal advice from a private solicitor or from the Legal Aid Commission.

5. The suspect will be allowed to make a telephone call to relatives, friends or a lawyer.

6. If the suspect opts for a lawyer, the police will not commence interview until legal advice has been received by the suspect.

7. The interview will commence in an interview room which is equipped for video recording.

8. The police officers in the Crime Branch of every station in Fiji will have been trained to conduct caution interviews on video.

9. A failure to video record the interview will lead to discipline unless there is a good explanation, and such failure may also lead to the exclusion of the interview in court.

10. Where an interview cannot be video recorded in a station, the Crime Officer will decide whether the suspect should be transferred to a station which has video recording equipment, or to proceed without the video. In these circumstances, the interview should be audio recorded instead.

11. Every suspect in custody will be the responsibility of a custody officer, who will give evidence in court if there are questions about the way in which a suspect has been kept in custody.

12. A Police Act should set out a “Custody Clock” which limits the time a person can be kept in police custody, and which provides for extensions of time to be ordered by the courts, on the basis of good cause shown by the police.

13. No person should be kept in custody for questioning for more than 24 hours, unless the circumstances are exceptional. Thereafter the suspect must either be released, or charged and released on bail or remanded in prison custody by the courts.

14. Custody must be authorised by an officer above the rank of Corporal, and the Custody Officer must be a Sergeant or Inspector.

15. In court the video or audio recording of the interview will be admissible in evidence unless admission would be unfair, or where a confession is considered unreliable.

This is my wish list, but my wish list is in fact the state of the law on police confession in many countries in the world. 

The recording of police confessions is important, because it leads to greater transparency in police methods, it encourages police officers to prepare for their interviews on the basis of the law and the elements of the offence, it leads to the virtual eradication of the trial within a trial, and it protects the suspect from unfair police conduct, and the police from unfair allegations of unfair police conduct."


running scared said…
It sounds as though shameem is preparing for her own interrogation for alleged treason and conspiracy? It will happen, she must accept that.
Milton Friedman said…
The economy in Fiji is doing well, there are no problems and we will have soon a growth rate like under the corrupt SDL regime. Fiji's sovereign risk is considered very low and foreign direct investment will flow in. Professor Prasad should have acknowledged that. All the incompetent doomsday prophets such as ADB, IMF and World Bank will soon have to eat their own predictions.
Water Boarding is not torture said…
Perhaps you can ask Nazhat to give similar advice to the military for when they take people to QEB for interrogation.
Anonymous said…
@ waterboarding
Perlease! Why be untruthful? You know that no one is interrogated at the camp!
Anonymous said…
Why pick on Shameem? We should put the 2000 coup plotters and supporters for trial for treason first, judges and all! Let's not be selective, running scared!
Anonymous said…
Ian Simpson, Taveuni.

My wish list...not complete, but a start.

1. All Lawyers after being admitted to the Bar, not be able to enter private practice until they have served 4 years in public service.

2. A lawyer at every police station serving as public prosecutor.

3. Only after every police station has been manned do surplus lawyers get sent to other government departments. Like Doctors, at least 2 years of their time be spent in rural Fiji.(Outside of Suva, Lautoka?lol)

Get real Shameem, sounds like you live in LaLa land.

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