4 Nov 2015

Fiji military defied police arresting wanted officer, court told

3:42 pm on 4 November 2015

The Fiji military is yet to say if it defied the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions which two weeks ago had ordered the arrest of a military officer wanted in a high profile abuse case.

Pita Matairavula was wanted in connection with the 2012 videotaped beating of two prison escapees.

The Fiji Times reports police went to his home last month, where they were told by his wife he had gone to buy bread but did not return.

It says Mr Matairavula was at the military barracks, and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions said police were denied entry to the barracks when they tried to arrest him.

His lawyer says there was no attempt by police to arrest his client and that he voluntarily surrendered.

None of the military officers contacted by RNZ International has been prepared to explain what happened.

Mr Matairavula was produced in the Nasinu Magistrates' Court yesterday and remanded in custody on a sexual assault charge after he had skipped two court appearances in the last two weeks of October.

Last week, when police said they were still searching for Mr Matairavula, he appeared in a separate alleged rape case in court in Lautoka where he was granted bail and allowed to leave.

In yesterday's case, the court refused to grant Mr Matairavula bail, citing a risk that he might fail to comply with all bail conditions.

The four co-accused in the case appeared in court twice and are now free on bail.

Members of Fiji police and military forces.

Members of Fiji police and military forces. Photo: AFP

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