TONGA WITHDRAWS SEDITION CHARGE AGAINST WOMAN

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Still charged with violence during 2006 Nukualofa riots

NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, May 2, 2008) – A sedition charge against a Nuku'alofa businesswoman 'Ofa Simiki was withdrawn by the Crown at the Nuku'alofa Supreme Court yesterday, April 30.

Simiki was initially charged with five counts relating to the riots of November 16, 2006. The four remaining charges include housebreaking, stealing, and abetment to burn down the Phoenix Chinese store, and to damage the Mailetaha Plaza.

The defendant pleaded not guilty to all four charges and chose to be tried by judge alone.

The Chief Justice adjourned the hearing to June 17 for a pre-trial conference.

'Ofa Simiki, who was a Niuas candidate in the 2008 Parliamentary Election last week and failed to win a seat, was represented by Clive Edwards.

'Aminiasi Kefu was the Crown Counsel.

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

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