20 Aug 2018

Date set for hearing against Samoa's Ministry of Police

10:35 am on 20 August 2018

The hearing of a US$376,000 (1million tala) lawsuit against Samoa's Ministry of Police has been set for November 26.

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Photo: RNZI/ Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

The civil action stems from a police raid in which the complainant, Suitupe Misa, was arrested in front of shoppers and vendors at the Savalalo market in 2015.

The office of the Ombudsman launched an investigation into the apparent wrongful arrest in 2016 after a complaint by Misa.

The Ombudsman reported that the Commissioner of Police failed to meet basic investigation principles and placed undue consideration on second hand

evidence, leading directly to the wrongful and unlawful arrest of Suitupe.

"The Commissioner's decision to arm and allow the use of firearms by his officers contravened the Use of Force policy, was irresponsible, and could

negatively impact the overall safety and security within Samoa," the report said.

The report also found that the arrest was "unlawful and improperly undertaken and therefore violated his fundamental human right to liberty".

The findings clearly demonstrated a series of errors of judgement and unlawful actions that were nowhere near what should be expected from the Samoan police force, the Ombudsman said.