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Murder charges dropped amidst brutality probe

Four men charged with murder are now free after the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) withdrew charges against them and recommended an investigation into alleged police brutality. In a statement, DPP Mr Christopher Pryde said he filed a nolle prosequi (discontinuance) in the High Court in Lautoka today effectively ending the prosecution against […]

Nacanieli Tuilevuka

May 9, 2016 8:18 am

Four men charged with murder are now free after the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) withdrew charges against them and recommended an investigation into alleged police brutality.

In a statement, DPP Mr Christopher Pryde said he filed a nolle prosequi (discontinuance) in the High Court in Lautoka today effectively ending the prosecution against four men accused of the murder of Jagdish Chand in 2010.

Jitendra Kumar, Subhash Chand, Parma Nand and Deo Chand were each charged with one count of murder for the death of Jagdish Chand in 2010.

Mr Pryde said it was clear that each of the accused had received unexplained injuries at the time of their caution interview while in police custody.

PRYDE:  “It also appears that duress was placed on the interviewing officers by their superiors to deny all allegations of assault. This is a very serious allegation which needs to be fully investigated. There being no admissible evidence against the accused other than the confession statements I am of the view that in these circumstances it would not be proper to continue with the prosecution. I am therefore ending the prosecution and sending the file back to the Police Commissioner to investigate the allegations of assault in custody.”

Police Commissioner Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho confirmed meeting with the DPP regarding the case and said investigations would be carried out accordingly.

QILIHO: “I respect the decision made and have given my assurances that a thorough investigation will be carried out accordingly with regards to the allegations made. We will be making further comments once the investigations are completed.”

Mr Pryde further said the filing of a nolle prosequi did not amount to an acquittal of the four persons.

PRYDE: “If further evidence is received from the Police it will be considered and the charge against each person may be filed afresh. Until that time, the matter is at an end.”

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