No charges against Fiji PM over alleged assault

Still from video of the alleged incident between Fiji PM Voreqe Bainimarama and MP Pio Tikoduadua on 9 August Source: Supplied

Opposition MP Pio Tikoduadua alleged he was assaulted by Mr Bainimarama back in August with video of the alleged confrontation emerging a few days later.

Fiji’s prime minister will not face assault charges over an incident in August in which he grabbed and shoved an opposition MP on parliament grounds in the capital Suva.

The country’s public prosecutor has issued a statement saying no action was needed because the parliamentary privileges committees had cleared Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama in September and the matter was "now closed”.

"Therefore, as the matter has now been dealt with by the Privileges Committee and those findings and recommendations have been accepted by Parliament, it would not be in the public interest for a second hearing to take place before the judiciary in the criminal courts,” Director of Public Prosecutions' Christopher Pryde said in a statement.

“This would, in effect, be subjecting the Prime Minister to double jeopardy.”

But he added: "Had the matter not been heard by the Privileges Committee and dealt with by Parliament, there was sufficient evidence for the matter to proceed to court." 

Opposition MP Pio Tikoduadua alleged he was assaulted by Mr Bainimarama on 9 August and footage of the incident was released a few days later.

“As the altercation occurred within the precincts of Parliament, the Speaker exercised his authority and referred the matter to the Privileges Committee," Mr Pryde's statement said.

Mr Tikoduadua was suspended from parliament for six months without pay for refusing to apologise to Mr Bainimarama for a heated exchange on the floor of parliament just before the incident.

Two public servants resigned their parliamentary jobs in controversial circumstances after releasing the video which showed the altercation.

Mr Bainimarama is due to deliver a keynote address to the Fiji-Australia Business Council in Brisbane today.

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