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NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, May 12) - Media activist 'Alani Taione pleaded not guilty to charges relating to the importation of an unlicenced newspaper, the Taimi o Tonga, and will face trial by jury on a date to be set.

The not guilty plea was accepted by Justice Ford in Taione's absence at the Nuku'alofa Supreme Court on May 10.

Defense Counsel Mele Mangisi told the court that the defendant and his New Zealand lawyer, Rodney Harrison were scheduled to arrive in Tonga from Auckland on Saturday, 9 May, but they could not get seats because of the great number of people who were coming to Tonga for the Diamond Jubilee of the Chiefly Church of Tonga.

Justice Ford accepted 'Alani's not guilty plea and also granted the defence request for a trial by a jury.

The trial date is to be set on May 12.

May 13, 2004

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