Tonga Judge Imposes Media Gag On Murder Trial

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Final submissions in NZ policeman’s death can’t be published

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, May 12, 2014) – Final submissions from counsel in the trial of five policemen accused in Kali Fungavaka’s death started today but its publication was suppressed by the judge at the Nuku’alofa Supreme Court.

Mr Justice Cato issued an order to the media suppressing the publication of these final legal submissions because there was a second trial coming up.

This is the jury trial for the civilian accused Semisi Kalisitiane Manu, who faces manslaughter with an alternative charge of grievous bodily harm. The trial is now expected to start on Monday, May 19 with the selection of a jury.

Meanwhile, the three defence counsel completed their final submissions this afternoon.

‘Ofa Pouono for the accused police constables Tevita Vakalahi, Salesi Maile and Manu Tu’ivai with P. Taufateau for the accused Police Inspector Kelepi Hala’ufia.

Meanwhile, another counsel Sione ‘Etika, has stepped in to represent Fatai Faletau, for the counsel Siaosi Fifita who was taken ill.

The Crown Prosecutor ‘Aminiasi Kefu will make his final submission tomorrow, Tuesday May 13.

Mr Justice Cato had earlier told the court he would not be releasing his verdict in this trial until after the second trial.

The five accused policemen who were tried by judge alone had pleaded not guilty to manslaughter with an alternative charge of grievous bodily harm.

Kali, a New Zealand police officer who was fatally injured in police custody in Nuku’alofa died on August 23, 2012 at Vaiola Hospital.

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