7 Oct 2015

Fiji police hand diplomat crash case to Foreign Ministries

1:23 pm on 7 October 2015

Fiji's police commissioner says the recent incident involving a South African diplomat is now out of police hands and is a matter between the foreign ministries of both countries.

Major General Ben Groenewald has cited the Vienna Convention for his actions in releasing the South African national involved in a fatal car accident on Saturday night.

Under the convention, diplomats have complete immunity from arrest, detention and police questioning.

He says South Africa could waive the immunity or pursue the matter in its own jurisdiction.

"Those are the two options but as I indicated the police or the Director of Public Prosecutions has no say on that. That is a diplomatic bilateral agreement in terms of the Vienna Convention between the sending state and the receiving state."

Major General Groenewald says the man was questioned and a blood-alcohol test was taken, which may be deemed inadmissible evidence in any future trial.

The South Africa High Commission in Fiji says it has reported the matter to Pretoria for consideration.

Fiji Police Commissioner Ben Groenewald appointed May 2014

Fiji Police Commissioner Ben Groenewald Photo: RNZI/ Sally Round