TONGAN DEFENDANT PLEADS NOT GUILTY OF SEDITION

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NUKU΄ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, July 24) - Sione Halafuka Vea (75) of Haveluloto, Tongatapu pleaded not guilty to one charge of sedition at the Nuku'alofa Supreme Court today, July 24.

He is alleged to have made a seditious remark at Pangai Si'i on November 15, 2006 when he said in a loudspeaker that, "tomorrow I will go into Parliament and bring two heads. You women bring your weaving knife, we will be in the house, we will surely be there and there will be screaming, pleading and groaning."

The Crown Prosecutor Peter Little told the court that the words that Sione said qualify as speaking seditious words, and seditious words are words said with a seditious intent.

He said that the words said were to excite disaffection against the Legislative Assembly.

The Crown Prosecutor said that he was calling six witnesses.

The jury trial is presided over by seven jurors, five men and two women, who were selected from the villages of Ma'ufanga and Pelehake. The trial is set to be completed tomorrow, July 25.

The accused is represented in court by Sifa Tu'utafaiva.

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