Law society: No one is above the law

Fiji Law Society President Laurel Vaurasi making her submission to the Standing Committee on Justice, Law and Human Rights recently. Picture: JONA KONATACI/FILE

NO one is above the rule of law and police must investigate the events that transpired outside Parliament House between Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and suspended Opposition member of Parliament Pio Tikoduadua, says the Fiji Law Society.

In a press statement issued on Wednesday, the society’s president, Laurel Vaurasi, said the recommendations of the Parliamentary Privileges Committee “are quite separate and distinct to the obligations of the Fiji Police Force”.

“The Fiji Law Society is most concerned that the Fiji Police Force is yet to conclude its investigations in the recent alleged physical assault against the honourable member of Opposition Pio Tikoduadua by the honourable Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama,” she said.

“In a democracy such as ours, the rule of law requires that the law must be applied uniformly, fairly and be enforced on all people and institutions.

“No one is above the rule of law which means our leaders are all subject to the rule of law.”

Ms Vaurasi said evidence and witness statements should be scrutinised and action taken based on this.

“There appears to be some evidence that is already in the public domain which may have a bearing on the allegations of assault being made by Mr Tikoduadua and various other witnesses’ accounts of the incident that took place outside Parliament House on 9 August, 2019.

“Whether the evidence is credible and sufficient to sustain a charge is for the police to decide, on the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions and this process must be done fairly, independently and impartially.

“We would question then, why the inordinate delay in completing the investigation?”

Police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro said the only response police had was what Commissioner of Police Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho had stated earlier – that police would only respond to Mr Tikoduadua and not to the media.

Meanwhile, when contacted last night, Mr Tikoduadua said he still had not received any update from police on the progress of investigations into his complaint lodged at Totogo Police Station on August 9.

He confirmed the last update he received from police was on August 27.

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