FOUR FACE CHARGES IN TONGA FERRY DISASTER

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High-profile defendants accused of negligent manslaughter

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 7, 2010) – Four people and representatives of the Shipping Corporation of Polynesia are due to appear in the Tonga Supreme Court today for arraignment on charges over the sinking of the Princess Ashika ferry, 13 months ago.

74 people died in the tragedy.

Those facing charges of manslaughter by negligence are the former managing director of the Shipping Corporation of Polynesia, John Jonesse, the captain Makahokovalu Tuputupu and his first mate, Semisi Pomale, the acting director of Marine, Viliami Tu’ipulotu and the corporation itself.

The cases which were committed in July to the Supreme Court for trial, will be called before Justice Shuster to arraign the dates for the trials to begin.

Matangi Tonga online reports that Mr Jonesse and the Corporation are charged with five additional offences, including sending an unseaworthy ship to sea.

Captain Tuputupu and Semisi Pomale face five other charges including taking an unseaworthy ship to sea, while Mr Tu’ipulotu is charged with six counts of manslaughter by negligence and five of sending an unseaworthy ship to sea.

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