Tongan law firm challenges Caldwell over Chief Superintendant’s suspension

Kuo toe tohi atu ha kautaha lao Tonga ki he Komisiona Polisi Steve Caldwell kau ki hano tuli fakataimi ‘o ha ‘ofisa polisi. ‘Oku kole ‘a e tohi ke toe fakakaukau’i ange ‘a hono kei tuli ‘o e Pule Polisi ko Tevita Fifita pea ke fakafoki ia ki he ngaue. ‘Oku toe kikihi’i ‘e he kautaha ni ‘oku totonu ke fakafoki ange ‘a e vahenga ‘o Fifita kamata mei he ‘aho 24 Novema 2016. Na’e faka’ilo ‘a Fifita ki ha fakatu’utamaki me’alele lolotonga ‘ene ngaue’aki ha me’alele ‘a e kau polisi. Ka na’e ‘osi tuku ange ia ‘e he fakamaau lahi pea ‘ikai ha toe tangi ia ‘a e kalauni ‘i he tu'utu'uni koia. Ka ‘oku pehe ‘e he komisiona polisi ko e kei tuli fakataimi ia ko ‘ene maumau’i ‘a e tu’utu’uni ‘a e polisi ki he founga ke ngaue’aki ki he’ene ‘u me’alele. Ka kuo pehe ‘e he kautaha lao ‘a e TaioneTu’utafaiva Law Firm ‘oku ‘ikai ko ha hia mamafa ‘eni ia ‘o hange ko e mamafa ‘o e hia ne tuku ange ai ia ‘e he fakamaau lahi.

A Tongan law firm has again written to Police Commissioner Steven Caldwell about a suspended police officer.

The letter asks Caldwell to reconsider the continued suspension of Chief Superintendent Tevita Fifita and return him to work.

It argued that Fifita was entitled to his salaries as from 24 November 2016.

“Our client was originally suspended on 24 November 2016 because criminal proceedings were said to have been commenced against him,” the letter said.

“The criminal charges against our client were dealt with last year and the Supreme Court cleared him of those criminal charges on 17 November 2017.

Fifita’s suspension was said to be extended in November 2017 because of his alleged failure to comply with the Police Motor Vehicles Policy and the Tongan Police Code of Conduct.

“We submit that those alleged breaches are not as serious as the criminal allegations for which he was suspended in November 2016. Furthermore, the factual findings of Judge Cato in our client’s case were not appealed against by the Crown and they still stand as facts.

“We therefore submit that our client is not facing allegations of serious breaches of discipline.”

The letter said the Police Employment Committee was challenging the judge’s finding in its disciplinary proceedings against Fifita.

“The proper procedure for challenging the Supreme Court’s judgement was to appeal to the Court of Appeal.” The letter said.

“The Court’s findings in favour of our client still stand, and PEC should respect them.”

The letter, signed by former Police Minister and lawyer Siosifa T. Tu’utafaiva, has  been copied to the Minister of Police.

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