The Royal Solomon Island Police Force (RSIPF) has denied claims made in Solomon Star newspaper which is published on 7 June 2022 with the title “Police Executive ‘hijacked’ Atu’s bail release” as misleading.
Director National Criminal Investigation Department (NCID) Chief Superintendent Leonard Tahnimana, said the claim is false and totally misleading. Mr Knoxley Atu has surrendered to police and was interviewed and formally charged for his involvement in the recent civil unrest that has happened in Honiara between 24 and 26 November 2021.
Chief Superintendent Tahnimana said to make it clear that Mr Atu was dealt with by NCID and not Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) or Commissioner of Police as reported in the paper.
Director Tahnimana said his bail is not an issue as it complies with the judicial process of the law. He is released on bail, just like others who are also charged for the same offences related to the November civil unrest. Mr Atu will appear before the Honiara Central Magistrates’ Court on 20 June 2022. There is no special treatment in his case.
Mr. Tahnimana said that there is no rift between the Commissioner of Police and the lower ranking officers about this case as alleged in the newspaper. This is a surprise story for RSIPF because it is not the role of Commissioner of Police to interview and charge offenders but the role of investigators and this is what investigators are doing with Mr Atu’s case.
RSIPF is calling on journalists to always practice ethical Journalism and strive to ensure free exchange of information that is accurate, fair and thorough, where Journalists act with integrity.
RSIPF appeals to the Media Association of Solomon Islands (MASI) to ensure its members verify facts with the Police Media Unit instead of using unnamed sources. This is confusing the public, which displayed unprofessional reporting.