A probationary police officer allegedly walked into a school compound intoxicated with alcohol and severely beat a grade 11 girl until she was unconscious, allegations that police have denied.
Gibson Tari, a school teacher on the Island of Ambae and father of girl informed Daily Post that on the second last day of the Public Service Day (PSC Day) that was hosted in Saratamata on Ambae, a newly recruited officer from Ambae, that is related to the girl allegedly assaulted the her.
According to Mr. Tari, the officer was a close relative of the family.
“The officer had entered Saint Patrick’s College at night where my daughter attends school and called her out of the dormitories.
“My daughter was unaware that he was in a drunken state and thought she was there to relay a family message.
“When she went outside he brutally beat her.
“Her screaming had alerted girls from inside the dorm and when they came outside she was unconscious and the girls saw the officer run off into the night.”
The father noted that this occurred a few days before the Penama Inter-Secondary Sports Association (PISA) Games.
It is alleged that the next day the victim was taken to the police station without any immediate notifications to her parents about what happened the previous night.
Another teacher from the school informed Mr. Tari about the incident.
Tari said upon hearing this, he rushed to the Police Station at Saratamata, where he asked questions but none of the officers gave an explanation.
“It was as if they did not want me to find out what that officer had done to my daughter and they were trying to keep it quiet.
“Another police officer working in that station had gone to (the young officer’s) parents to ask the family to perform a custom reconciliation with my family for my daughter’s beating.
“I denied this reconciliation on the spot,” says Gibson Tari.
The girl had made a statement for the police which Mr. Tari says he was later advised by the Gender and Child Protection Services on Ambae as well as the Education Inspector to write a complaint letter to add to the statement given by his daughter to support it.
The Gender and Child Protection Services on Ambae confirmed this letter was asked for saying that they are dealing with the matter.
Education Office Inspector, Andrew Tari, is also currently investigating the case to compile a report.
“I did ask Mr. Tari to submit a complaint letter to support his daughter’s statement as well.
“I have just finished interviewing the victim.
“I can confirm that the girl has been beaten, she has scars and blackened bruises that are just starting to heal all over her legs and hands,” the Education Inspector said.
The Vanuatu Police’s Communications Office has stated that the Penama Acting Commander, Inspector John Mark Rovo, has denied that the entire situation occurred in such a violent manner and that nobody was beaten.
No further statements were made to clarify the situation.
“I want to understand why they have not thrown him off the force.
“This abuse of power by people who have the law in their hands is unforgivable.
“I do not understand why I need to write a letter to support my daughter’s statement.
“Is her firsthand experience and physical state after the beating not enough?” the girl’s father pleaded.