Fijian Police officers cop $3000 fine

Three police officers in the Northern Division have been ordered by the High Court in Labasa to pay $3000 to a man in general damages for seizing his vehicle.

Divisional crimes officer Northern Rajesh Maharaj, Savusavu police officer Rusiate Raivukica and Savusavu station officer Gyan Singh were sued by businessman Ravindra Lal for the wrongful detainment of his vehicle in 2019.

The officers had said the ownership of the vehicle was disputed and it was held as an exhibit in a case of conversion against Mr Lal.

The court was told a search warrant was not issued to take possession of the vehicle.

“In my judgment, the seizure was wrongful,” said Justice Brito-Mutunayagam.

“In my judgment, the damages awarded is adequate to punish the defendant for their conduct and deter them from repeating it.

“The plaintiff (Mr Lal) has been without the use of the vehicle from March 7, 2019.

“However, he has not taken steps to mitigate his loss.

“He has not made an application for the release of his vehicle in Magistrates Court Criminal Case No 418 of 2018.

“In the circumstances, I decline to release the vehicle in these proceedings,” Justice Brito-Mutunayagam said.

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