13 Mar 2007

Fiji court orders state to pay compensation for wrongful arrest

9:49 am on 13 March 2007

The Lautoka High Court has ordered the state to pay 30-thousand US dollars to a former trade unionist for wrongful arrest.

Fiji TV reports that Krishna Chetty, a former official of the Fiji Public Service Association's Nadi branch, filed his case for compensation after being detained by a police officer in October 2001.

Mr Chetty was arrested at Nadi Airport on allegations that he stole confidential files from Airports Fiji Limited and that he trespassed the company's security office.

In his evidence Mr Chetty submitted that he was kept at the airport police post for four hours and a further five hours at Namaka Police Station during which he was not allowed to call his wife to tell her where he was.

He was not charged with any offence and released.

Justice john Connors assessed damages at 1,320-US dollars for each hour of Mr Chetty's custody and 12-thousand US dollars for detention, trauma and excessive delay in advising him that no charges would be laid.

Costs and interest since 2001 took the total damages to just over 30-thousand US dollars.

Mr Chetty has since migrated to New Zealand with his family.