19 Jan 2005

Solomons lawyer chides Canberra inaction over police complaint

3:23 pm on 19 January 2005

Authorities in Canberra are yet to respond to claims that Australian police officers mistreated a Solomon Islands man who'd been held for questioning.

John Kwakwala Makasi is claiming compensation from Australian police members of the regional assistance mission who, he says, forced him to urinate in front of them during an interrogation.

Police briefly held Mr Makasi in connection with their inquiry into the killing of one of their colleagues in the capital last month.

Mr Makasi's lawyer, Charles Ashley, says police have passed on to Canberra, a complaint he made more than a week ago.

"If I get a response from Canberra which basically admits that, yes, those things that basically have been done to my client, then we need not go into court to look at all this. But, however, if a response is received, denying liability, certainly we'd have to protect our client's rights, in the courts, here."

Mr Ashley is threatening to file for compensation in the High Court, claiming RAMSI has breached the constitution.

RAMSI has referred all inquiries to the professional standards department of the Australian Federal Police, which hasn't been available for comment.