Police lodges official complaint with AG against Court Registrar over release of drug defendant


The Ministry of Police and Prisons has lodged an official complaint with the Attorney General’s office against the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration on the conduct of Deputy Registrar Victory Lesa over the alleged release of drug defendant Rodney Crichton back in December.

This was confirmed in a letter dated 10 January, 2022 endorsed by Deputy Commissioner Auapaau Logoitino Filipo to Attorney General, Su’a Hellene Wallwork which was obtained by Radio Polynesia.

The drug defendant in question is back in the custody of the police.

Auapaau in his letter said this is not the first time, Lesa has had “issues” with the Police and as a result an arrangement was made with the Justice Ministry prohibiting Lesa to conduct any remanding procedure for police suspects and in particular drug related crimes.

Last month the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration ordered a full report over the matter, confirmed Acting CEO Aumua Ronnie Fereti in an earlier interview with Radio Polynesia.

Repeated efforts were made to get comments from but he’s yet to reply to calls to the office, messages and emails.

The Police accuses the Deputy Court Registrar Lesa of “playing with the justice system” when he bailed Crichton.

The Deputy Commissioner urged the AG’s office to look into this matter and “identify any remedies to address such conduct that does not reflect well in the justice system.”

He said: “We are very concerned as to how Lesa is [allegedly] involving himself in cases of this nature and we only ask that he is prohibited or banned to be involved” in particularly remanding and bail procedures for suspects of drug-related cases.

Radio Polynesia also obtained the email correspondences between Acting Chief Justice Vui Clarence Nelson and the Management of the Justice Ministry, following an email from the Deputy Commissioner Papalii Monalisa Tiai-Ketiin December.

In her email, Papalli expressed concerns and noted that Crichton was arrested with seven other drug defendants and was remanded into the custody of Police until 31 January, for criminal mention, however the Police court team received a court list scheduled on 22 December before Justice Nelson and Crichton’s name is listed.

Furthermore, Papalii said Crichton was taken by the Police Officers on duty to the court to await for Justice Nelson, but he did not show up. However, Deputy Registrar Lesa appeared and remanded Crichton out on bail.

Papalii said the Attorney General’s office confirmed the bail hearing did not eventuate.

However, Justice Nelson in his email to the Justice Ministry management pointed out the only matter on his calendar on the 22 December was sentencing, in which he attended and that he was not advised of any bail application and urged the Acting CEO to look into this matter and keep him posted on the outcome.

Papalii noted this is not the first time they had addressed this issue with the Justice Ministry.