Friday, 27 March 2009 8:57 AM

Police Seek Public Assistance to Target Known Criminals

The Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) is renewing its commitment to actively pursue known criminals for serious offences including murder and arson.

Police are seeking public assistance in apprehending these individuals so they face court proceedings. High on their wanted list is escaped prisoner Stanley Gitoa, from Tetere, who has been on the run since February 2007.

On 30 November 2001, Gitoa was allegedly responsible for firing a semi-automatic rifle and murdering a woman. He is also believed to have committed other firearm, rape, attempted rape, and theft offences.

Gitoa handed himself into police on 7 November 2004. On 15 February 2007, he escaped from Tetere Prison while on a welfare visit to family.

An arrest warrant to apprehend Stanley Gitoa was issued by the Central Magistrates Court on 15 December 2008 for escaping lawful custody and escaping from prison.

Stanley Gitoa, aged in his mid 30s, is dark-skinned, of stocky build with dark, short hair and may still favour a moustache and beard. His home village is Tetere, Guadacanal but he has reportedly also lived in the Mbinu area. Anyone knowing his current whereabouts is urged to contact police immediately.

Police have now set up a dedicated telephone number so people can call in and provide information on outstanding arrest warrants for serious crimes. This hotline is 49174 and is manned by officers from the National Intelligence Unit.

This number can be called at any time and people can speak with a specialist police officer and provide relevant information, which will be treated confidentially.

Other men police are seeking further information on include Edmund Sae, John Taloi, David Suiti, Chronical Kiri, Alphonseus Toghovotu, John Meti, Willie Mandetea, Robert Tatave, Rex Funamalefo, David Folitana and Albert Veloa.

Acting Commissioner of Police, Peter Marshall, said that the individuals wanted by police all have outstanding arrest warrants for serious crimes.

"However the full focus of National Intelligence Unit investigators is now on Stanley Gitoa," he said.

"The RSIPF will be releasing more detailed information on the other men with outstanding arrest warrants over coming weeks and months."

"Many of these crimes occurred in the ethnic tension period and the offenders have never faced court. Because they have never faced court, the victims have never been able to forgive the offenders or have any form of reconciliation," he said.

Mr Marshall urged anyone that has information on the wanted offenders to come forward and help police finalise these matters.

"Many of these people have been on the run and hiding from police for many years. This is their opportunity to stop running and have their matters finalised by the court," he said.

"Justice and reconciliation go hand in hand. To have proper reconciliation and forgiveness, justice needs to be served," he said.

"Some of these individuals are wanted for some of the most horrific crimes committed in this country. The Police have actively pursued these men for several years and we will continue until they are brought before the courts.

"A Solomon Islands court has issued arrest warrants. It is time for these people to stop hiding from police and face the justice system," Mr Marshall said.

Mr Marshall also called upon the communities protecting these criminals to work with police and help ensure the wanted men take responsibility for the crimes they have committed.

"Many times members of particular communities have assisted these men avoid apprehension. They inform the criminals about police operations and actively disrupt police business. This is a criminal act in itself.

"The community's role should be to help our officers uphold the law, and enable true reconciliation wherever this is possible," he said.

Acting Commissioner Marshall said that Police understood that some of these wanted men may be fearful of reprisals from the RSIPF or RAMSI PPF.

"I guarantee that anyone that hands themselves in will not be harmed and will be treated fairly by police and our RAMSI colleagues," he said.

"Now is the time to come forward and help police finalise these matters so the victims, the offenders and the country can move forward together," he said.


Copyright @ 2009. Police Media Unit. All Rights Reserved.


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