Why the 256 charges against the Police Commissioner were withdrawn

APIA, SAMOA – TUESDAY 21 FEBRUARY 2017: The whole of the investigation, arrest and prosecution case against the Commissioner of Police, Fuiavailili Egon Keil was and is deeply and irremediably compromised.

“In the circumstances it was not, and is not, in the public interest to proceed,” submitted the counsel for Prosecution, Kenneth Nigel Hampton and was accepted and the 256 charges were withdrawn by Justice Mata Tuatagaloa.

Kenneth Nigel Hampton submitted that having reviewed all the charges and the evidence, and independently from the defence application, it has been concluded that all the charges before the court should not proceed to trial and that all counts should be withdrawn, by leave, for the following summarized reasons:

4.1.1      None of the allegations have been properly investigated by objective and independent investigators;

4.1.2      Interviews of potential witnesses, of an acceptably rigorous standard, were not conducted.

4.1.3      No explanation was sought from the Defendant.

4.1.4      No appropriate (and necessary) legal advice was sought before charges were laid and the Defendant arrested.

4.1.5      If any of the matters in paragraphs 4.1.1, 4.1.2 and 4.1.4 above had occurred, then these charges would not have resulted.

4.1.6      At no time (and in relation to all of the counts) based on the evidence gathered, was the two-part evidential sufficiency test met (i.e. was there prima facie evidence of an        offence?; if so, was there a reasonable prospect of the prosecution succeeding?).

4.1.7      Furthermore, given the background and the history leading up to the arrest of the Defendant and the laying of these charges, the timing of such arrest, the “relationships” of all the police officers involved (including the Defendant) and, in a general sense the absence of any civilian/public involvement and the apparent lack of any “criminality” in relation to the allegations, the public interest test was not met (and never was). Indeed, to proceed would be manifestly not in the public interest. Such matters as, inevitably, will be raised, are best explored in an inquisitorial Commission of Inquiry and not in the context of an adversarial criminal trial.

4.1.8      In the circumstances it was not, and is not, in the public interest to proceed.

4.1.9      The whole of the investigation, arrest and prosecution case was and is deeply and irremediably compromised.

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