CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS UNDER INVESTIGATION

Three Correctional Officers have been released on police bail after a complaint was lodged against them for allegedly assaulting a teenager.

The victim in this case is a son of a police officer who resides beside the high-risk correctional facility in Port Vila.

The case was reported to the police this week after three officers allegedly arrested the boy, took him inside the high-risk facility and assaulted him.

It was reported that some youngsters were standing at Litchees Store at Edmond Colardeau Avenue and were allegedly swearing to each other, alarming a female Correctional staff on the shift in the female prison who claimed that they were swearing at her.

The report alleged that the female staff then called her husband who is also a correctional officer. He intervened with other officers, driving there on the Correctional Services bus and dispersed the group by allegedly swearing at them.

Police said the youngsters escaped by running but the officers got the victim and forced him inside the bus and drove him to the high-risk facility, where two officers held him while the husband of the female officer allegedly assaulted him inside the compound.

Police said the officers allegedly ceased throwing punches only when the victim’s sister recognized her brother through the fence and alerted her mother, who shouted to rescue her son.

They said the correctional officers then drove the victim around and dropped him at his home, proposing a possibility of reconciliation in the future in which the mother and the victim had refused in advance.

The father of the victim is currently in Fiji on a scholarship and emailed the investigators to have the matter investigated and prosecuted.

Reports revealed the investigation is now underway over the action which was described as ‘unethical’ in the Correctional Services regulations.

Police said the charges laid against the three officers includes intentional assault, threats to kill, abusive words and kidnapping.

The Correctional Service officers will appear in Magistrates Court on April 24, 2019 for Preliminary Inquiry (PI) Hearing.

Director of Correctional Services Johnny Marango, says the alleged action is inhuman and totally outside the Correctional Services’ line of work.

Mr Marango said that he is not happy with the action, saying the officers should have taken the victim to the police station.

He was not in the office when Daily Post called him but he said that it is up to the family to take the matter to court for justice because such an act is against their Code of Ethics.

Police said this incident had shed some light to an earlier report brought up last week against six Correctional staff now being criminally charged over an alleged assault of an unconvicted individual currently remanded in prison.

They said a medical report will be provided but alleged that there is a possibility that they have broken his eardrum.

Police said that the officers have been cautioned last week and charged with intentional assault.

Police said that the recent alleged assaults may have given a clue to a longstanding unreported maltreatment inside prison facilities that needed to be addressed as priority.

They said some of the officers needed to be recruited based on some legal background to enable them to understand their daily duties and to avoid tarnishing the reputation of the department.

Director Marango told Daily Post that inhuman treatment on prisoners is not tolerated in most prisons in the world and encouraged all affected victims to file their complaints.

Mr Marango if the allegations are true then it is a huge violation of their own rules.

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