Suva magistrate Seini Puamau has recommended the Fiji Police Force develop an in-person and online system for witness follow- up and change of address notifications.
This after the trial of a man failed to proceed before her recently because police couldn’t locate their key witness.
Vuli Levuiwasa had initially appeared in court in 2018 charged with one count of assault causing actual bodily harm.
“I grant the State’s application for adjournment and will adjourn the matter for trial to December 2023, but I order that the State pay to the accused the sum of $100 in wasted costs to defray him the costs to him in lost income, wasted travel expenses and lost time,” stated Ms Puamau in her October 25 ruling.
“This sum is to be paid to the Criminal Court Registry within 30 days and the said amount will be transferred to the accused person’s bank account immediately thereafter.
“The prosecutor and the investigating officer have done the best they could in the circumstances. This is a systems error, to borrow a computing phrase.
“Witnesses sometimes move and forget to notify police officers of their new address and contact information.”
“It is my recommendation that the Fiji Police Force develop an in-person and online system for witness follow-up and witness change of address notifications in order to ensure that this problem does not re-occur.”