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Support for sentencing of senior police officer jailed for assault
The Women and Children Crisis Centre supports the sentencing of the long-serving senior Police Officer, Viliami Toki, for assaulting and injuring a man in custody in 2008.
“It is a clear sign that those under custody of the state have rights that must be respected” said WCCC director, Ofakilevuka Guttenbeil-likiliki. “No matter what an individual is in custody for, basic human rights must be upheld”
Toki was charged with three incidents of causing bodily harm and two common assault charges. “The witness accounts showed that the treatment of the prisoner was inhumane – using handcuffs that were too tight, not allowing him to go to the bathroom, and subjecting him to assault” said Guttenbeil Likiliki.
The Crisis Centre works to eliminate all forms of violence in the Kingdom by performing community awareness, counselling, advocacy and legal support to survivors of violence. The centre Director, ‘Ofakilevka Guttenbeil-likiliki is quick to point out that the elimination of violence applies to the Police force as well. “We are witnessing a move towards a more accountable Police force in Tonga which the centre absolutely supports. Those within the force who stood as witnesses in this trial should be commended.”
Currently the Ministry of Police are developing a response to domestic violence policy. “This is a fantastic move for the Kingdom – a first for Tonga – and I hope that it will develop into a broader policy of zero tolerance to violence within the police force” said Guttenbeil -likiliki.
Having a transparent and accountable police force means that law and order across all levels of society will be enforced. “In the current economic climate, the police force must consider the long term implications that their actions could have. They enforce the law, but they are not above it. It’s the right time for a sentence like this one to be handed down” said Guttenbeil-likiliki.