10 May 2011

Vanuatu Coroner's inquiry on hold after police commissioner Bong takes legal action

6:10 pm on 10 May 2011

The Vanuatu Ministry of Justice has put on hold a commission of inquiry investigating why a coroner's report had been ignored by authorities.

The report drawn up by New Zealand judge, Nevin Dawson, looked into the police's failure to investigate the killing in custody of a prisoner, John Bule.

The lawyer for the police commissioner, Joshua Bong, says legal proceedings to stop the inquiry have been launched, prompting reports it had already been suspended.

The director general of justice, Russel Nari, says they're checking to see if any legal action has been initiated, but given the confusion created, the ministry has put the inquiry on hold.

"People that have been summoned have been confused by the current situation that has been created, so people have said that the commission of inquiry has been terminated. So the process is just not working well, so that's why we are now working with the court house to get confirmation so that the final decision from the minister can be made."

Vanuatu's director general of justice, Russel Nari.