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25-year jail term

Avinesh Gopal
Monday, February 04, 2013

PARENTS who will be charged by police for negligence resulting in the deaths of their children will be liable to a jail term of up to 25 years.

This was revealed by the Fiji Police Force yesterday, which said there were provisions in certain sections of the Crimes Decree to charge parents for negligence.

It comes in the wake of the continuous deaths of children by drowning, with more than seven cases recorded so far this year.

According to police, Section 240 of the Crimes Decree states that a person commits an indictable offence if the person causes the death of another person, which he has a duty of care to the other person in accordance to Section 241.

Section 241 of the Crimes Decree states that it is the duty of a person who as head of family, has in charge of child under-14 and being member of his/her household to provide necessaries of life to the child.

The section also states that he/she shall be deem to have caused any consequences which may adversely affect the life of the child under his care.

Police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro said, "If it is established in our investigation that through their negligence death has resulted, then they are liable under this offence to an imprisonment term of up to 25 years."

The Commissioner of Police Brigadier General Ioane Naivalurua has already given a directive to investigators to look into the issue of parental negligence when investigating the deaths of children by drowning.

In most of the cases last year and so far this year involving children, it was reported that the children were left unsupervised when out swimming with friends or near their homes.

On Friday afternoon, a 12-year-old Class Five student drowned in Tailevu while swimming with friends.

And on Saturday morning, the body of an 11-year-old student was found floating in a creek at Navatu in Cakaudrove, Vanua Levu.

The student had gone to bath in the creek and her body was found at about 11am on Saturday.

Police have re-opened four files on the recent deaths of children by drowning for further investigations.

The re-opened files, two from the Western Division and two from the Southern Division, are with the police force's Criminal Investigations Department.

Ms Naisoro said the onus was therefore on parents and guardians to ensure that their children were supervised at all times when out swimming or bathing in creeks or rivers.





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