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Car crash driver free

Talebula Kate
Sunday, October 04, 2015

POLICE have confirmed that the driver involved in a crash that claimed a life on Friday night was not detained because he has diplomatic immunity.

Commissioner Ben Groenewald confirmed the driver as the first secretary at the South African High Commission in Fiji, Theo Mostert.

Mr Groenewald said Mr Mostert could not be remanded in custody because he had diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention.

He said police investigations would continue and it was also now a matter between the two states of Fiji and South Africa.

The accident on Edinburgh Drive claimed the life Ashneel Singh, 26.

Under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, to which Fiji is a signatory, a diplomatic agent shall enjoy immunity from the criminal jurisdiction of the receiving State.

The convention states the person of a diplomatic agent shall be inviolable, he shall not be liable to any form of arrest or detention and the receiving State shall treat him with due respect and shall take all appropriate steps to prevent any attack on his person, freedom or dignity.

However the immunity from jurisdiction of diplomatic agents and of persons enjoying immunity under Article 37 of the convention may be waived by the sending State- but this waiver must always be clear.

The convention states this waiver must always be express.

Police spokesman Inspector Atunaisa Sokomuri said the accident happened at 10pm on Friday.

Insp Sokomuri said the 59-year-old diplomat was suspected to be under the influence of alcohol and he was taken to Totogo Police Station for an interview.

Meanwhile Rahul Prakash, a cousin of the deceased said yesterday they were informed of the special privileges of the diplomat but this was of no comfort to them.

He said police told them the diplomat might have certain privileged rights.

"Our humble plea to the police is look into this matter and take action," he said.

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