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ALOFI, Niue (October 1, 2001 - Niue Economic Review/PINA Nius Online)---A major row is brewing over the competency of the police and justice departments on Niue after the High Court dismissed a murder charge.

Leading Opposition member of the Legislative Assembly, O'Love Jacobsen, is calling for an independent commission of inquiry into both departments after the court dismissed the charge against a Tongan planter due to the lack of sufficient forensic evidence.

The 41-year-old man later pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment.

Mrs. Jacobsen said the lack of specialization in forensic science and the fact that the Niue police had turned down an offer of investigative assistance by the New Zealand police requires an inquiry. She also said those people facing serious charges on the island had no access to qualified legal advice.

Chief of Police John Satini Tohovaka told TV Niue News that in hindsight an offer of assistance from New Zealand police should have been taken up.

For additional reports from the Niue Economic Review, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Magazines/Journals/Niue Economic Review.

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