TONGA COURT HEARS CASE AGAINST COP

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NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, May 27) – A two-day hearing of a civil case against a Tongan Police Officer Semi Ve'ehala, the Ministry of Police, and the Kingdom of Tonga ended today, May 27 at the Nuku’alofa Supreme Court.

Mr. Justice Ian Thomas reserved his judgment until next week.

The first defendant, Police Officer Semi Ve'ehala of the Mu'a Police Station was alleged to have beaten and unlawfully imprisoned the plaintiff, Samisoni Poteki of Makaunga during March 2004.

The court was told that on March 30, Semi Ve'ehala, a police officer based at Mu'a Police station arrested Poteki at his house at the village of Makaunga and took him to the police station without giving any reason. There the accused ordered the plaintiff to stand on only one foot and he was questioned about a housebreaking that took place at Makaunga.

Poteki who denied committing the offence was kept in police custody until the following day, March 31, when he was taken to the scene of the crime and Semi Ve’ehala told him to demonstrate the housebreaking.

After Poteki denied committing the offence again, the accused got angry and while driving punched the plaintiff on his cheek and various parts of his head with his closed fist.

The plaintiff who claimed to have been scared after the beating admitted to committing the crime and was later released from police custody on March 31.

Crown counsel Sione Sisifa represented the accused and Sione Teisina Fifita represented the plaintiff.

May 30, 2005

Matangi Tonga Magazine: www.matangitonga.to/home/

 

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