Tongan Noble’s Court Appeal To Be Heard In January

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Tongan Noble’s Court Appeal To Be Heard In January Lord Tu’ilakepa aims to keep firearms, drug charges separated

NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Dec. 17, 2012) – An appeal by Lord Tu'ilakepa, a former Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Tonga, against a Magistrate's ruling to hold separate preliminary inquiries for his arms and drugs charges will be heard on 30 January, 2013.

Hon. Chief Justice Michael Scott will preside over the appeal at the Supreme Court in Nuku'alofa.

Lord Tu'ilakepa, a current Vava'u Nobles Representative to Parliament, is facing multiple charges of conspiracy to the importation of illicit drugs and illegal possession of firearms and ammunitions.

In November, a Magistrate upheld a request by the Crown for the preliminary inquiry on the arms and ammunitions charges be heard separately from the illicit drugs at the Nuku'alofa Magistrate's Court.

A date was fixed for the arms and ammunitions inquiry to be held on 27 November and for the drugs charges to be deferred until the Crown was ready to proceed.

However, the noble lodged his appeal to the Supreme Court against this ruling in late November which deferred the preliminary inquiry until an outcome of the appeal is determined.


The Crown requested to hold separate inquiries for the arms and ammunitions charges because they were not factually related to the drugs charges and either charge could be heard separately, and secondly, the Attorney General has the authority and discretion to initiate, discontinue or stay a prosecution.

The multiple charges followed a transnational police investigation into illicit drugs conducted in Tonga and Australia.

On December 2, 2010 Tonga Police executed five search warrants at four locations in Tongatapu and one location in Vava’u that resulted in the noble being charged.

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