Niue man who was arrested during NZ PM's visit plans to sue
A man in Niue who was arrested and taken into custody when the New Zealand prime minister, John Key, visited last June, is suing police.
A man in Niue who was arrested and taken into custody when the prime minister, John Key, visited in June, is suing police.
Vilikai Vilikai had been staging a protest about environmental issues by placing signs along the route taken by Mr Key's motorcade in its one day visit to the island.
He was taken into custody for 10 hours but police have never laid charges although they have claimed he assaulted an officer.
Mr Vilikai wants compensation and an apology from police.
Niue's police chief Tony Edwards told Don Wiseman they hope to resolve the incident amicably.
TONY EDWARDS: What he's trying to say is that he's been treated unfairly, but from a police perspective we have our reasons as to why he was treated the way he was treated on the day. Now this is going through the court at the moment, so I won't be able to tell you what's going to happen but it is in Crown Law's hands to ensure that these steps are taken. But what we've asked is that if we can get some time to talk with Mr Vilikai and whoever his defence is to come and have a discussion on it. So basically, what I want to say to him is: 'give us his grounds as to why he's going forward with suing the police in this matter.'
DON WISEMAN: When this incident first happened, it was first reported in June after John Key had come through, you yourself told this radio station that you were investigating what charges, if any, you would bring against Mr Vilikai. What charges did you bring?
TE: There were certain charges that we were going to charge him, but like I said, I would reserve those comments. But you know it's adamant that Mr Vilikai assaulted a police officer. So I've quite reserved that back since then and was hoping that Mr Vilikai would come into the station and have a discussion on that. But from that day on we haven't heard from him or seen him and this is the very first time that we've heard from him - when we received a summons.
DW: And it goes back, of course, to the fact that he was staging a protest in front of John Key arriving in the country and it would appear that he got shut down by police for no good reason and that is why he struck out.
TE: Well he was spoken to by police and with his reaction, you know, he was an unhappy chap. But, you know, I would reserve those comments of his, but police did what they had to do. If he hadn't reacted, probably there would have been a different outcome.
DW: But why did you need to speak to him? He's allowed to protest isn't he?
TE: Well that's what I'm saying, you could talk to him, but the actions that he considered on the day or decided on was not acceptable.
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