Fiji Time: 10:36 PM on Wednesday 21 March

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Death of suspect sparks inquiry

Mere Naleba
Friday, August 22, 2014

A TEAM of officers will investigate the death of a 30-year-old robbery suspect who died while in police custody.

Police Commissioner Ben Groenewald confirmed the director of Internal Affairs, a senior officer and four subordinates travelled to the Western Division yesterday.

Mr Groenewald reassured the family of the deceased and members of the public of a thorough investigation.

However, he could not reveal the time-frame needed to complete investigations.

"I have sent my most senior people — the Internal Affairs investigators — to the location of what happened near Sigatoka, to Nadi and to the Lautoka Hospital," Mr Groenewald said.

"At the same time, a post-mortem (examination) will be conducted and when we get the results of that, we will obviously be in a better position to know exactly what happened."

He pleaded with members of the public and the media not to jump to conclusions but to await the post-mortem examination results.

"I just want to assure the Fijian people that every stage of this process will be transparent and when I get the information we need, I will share it with you.

"We have already visited this man's family and expressed our sincere condolences at his passing. They are the people we should most bear in mind at this time."

Mr Groenewald said last Friday, the deceased and an accomplice were alleged to have been involved in a robbery in which $50,000 was stolen from City Forex Exchange Nadi branch.

He said the suspects fled the scene and were later stopped near Sigatoka on the same day, and attempted to escape from police.

He said with the assistance of the villagers, they were apprehended.

However, Mr Groenewald could not confirm the number of arresting officers.

He said the two suspects were transported from Sigatoka to the Nadi Police Station and were immediately taken to the Nadi Hospital where the two were admitted.

The deceased was later transferred to the Lautoka Hospital where he died hours after an operation.

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