15 Oct 2019

Assault claim against Fiji PM back with public prosecutor

3:34 pm on 15 October 2019

A suspended Fiji opposition MP says a criminal investigation into his complaint of assault against the prime minister has been handed back to the public prosecutor.

Pio Tikoduadua

Pio Tikoduadua Photo: CC BY-SA 4.0

Pio Tikoduadua claims he was assaulted by Frank Bainimarama outside Parliament in August, in an act caught on film.

Mr Bainimarama has denied the claims.

The National Federation Party MP was last month suspended for six months without pay for refusing to apologise to Mr Bainimarama, after a committee ruled he had made a personal attack.

The public prosecutor last month referred the criminal complaint back to police for further investigation.

But Mr Tikoduadua said police had told him that last week the investigation file was returned to the prosecutor.

"According to the Speaker, the two procedures are independent of each other. So, I would hope that the DPP is going to do what is expected of him to do according to how he views the case in his own independent judgement.

"I'm also concerned that he might say that given the matter has been dealt with in Parliament - that that's the end of it. That he cannot charge a person twice for the same offence."

Mr Tikoduadua is president of the National Federation Party (NFP).

Police Deputy Commissioner Rusiate Tudravu said the file was handed over to the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Christopher Pryde last Friday - 18 days after the ODPP had returned the file to police for further investigations.

Police had sent the file to the DPP on 23 September, but it was returned to them to investigate the matter further.

Mr Tikoduadua said he lodged a report with police in Suva on August 9 claiming he was assaulted by the prime minister outside Parliament.

He said the letter he received from police last Friday stated that the file was now with the DPP.

"Essentially what the letter means is that the police have completed their investigations," he said.

"But there are three things the DPP could do: He could do what he did the last time and refer the matter back to police and say continue investigations.

"Two, he could say okay there is enough evidence there to continue with a case against the prime minister.

"And three, he could say that there is nothing in it. He could say he's not going to do anything."

Mr Tikoduadua said he has yet to hear from Mr Pryde's office or police.

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