Mother seeks justice

Marama Tikomaivalagi shows a picture of her son Joseua Lalauvaki in Nausori. Picture: RAMA/FILE

“PLEASE forgive me,” Joseua Lalauvaki told his mother Marama Tikomaivalagi as he lay on his hospital bed pleading with her over the phone to come to the hospital.

Today, Mrs Tikomaivalagi is crying for justice over the death of her 26-year-old son who succumbed to his injuries on Thursday at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital.

Mrs Tikomaivalagi said her son was allegedly beaten by police after a night out in the Capital City on September 1 and underwent surgery on September 2.

A distraught Mrs Tikomaivalagi said Lalauvaki called home on the morning of September 2 and asked if they could come and see him at CWM Hospital.

“He apologised to us first then he pleaded with us to come to the hospital. I still can’t believe that he is no longer here,” Mrs Tikomaivalagi said.

“He told us that he was assaulted and that he was suffering from severe pain around his abdomen.

He was advised to go for surgery after he had finished his scan, and he was scared,” she said.

Mrs Tikomaivalagi said Lalauvaki left their home at Muaira, Kiuva, Bau in Tailevu on September 1 with his elder brother to watch the Fiji Drua match against the Melbourne Rising at Ratu Cakobau Park in Nausori.

“After the game my eldest son came back home while Joseua made his way to Suva later that night to meet his partner,” she said. She described Joseua as a hardworking man who was passionate about rugby.

“He played for Rewa and was supposed to leave for New Zealand soon for a rugby contract, but now he is no longer here and I miss him so much,” she said.

Police Commissioner Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho has directed the Criminal Investigations Department to investigate the death of Mr Lalauvaki.

“Following the initial report of alleged assault in September, a directive was issued for a team from the Internal Affairs Unit to investigate the allegations, and I have now directed the case be taken over by the director CID and his team,” Mr Qiliho said.

The police chief extended his heartfelt condolences to Mr Lalauvaki’s family and assured them a thorough investigation would be conducted with regards to the circumstances of his death.

“I maintain that the Fiji Police Force has no place for officers who abuse their authority and will not hesitate to remove anyone found to be doing so,” he said.

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