Six charged with manslaughter over officer's death

Six men, including five Tongan police officers, have been freed on bail after being charged with the manslaughter of New Zealand police officer Kali Fungavaka.

The six accused, one of whom was a detainee when Mr Fungavaka suffered fatal injuries while in custody, were expected to be released on bail yesterday afternoon, Matangi Tonga Online reports.

Solicitor General Aminiasi Kefu did not object to the bail in what he said was a very serious case.

"But we hope to have the trial as soon as possible due to the seriousness of what happened and there is great concern from all aspects of society for the case to be solved and we do not want to prolong the true justice of this trial," he said.

The bail followed the arrest of three more officers charged with Mr Fungavaka's death in a police cell after he was arrested in Tonga on August 17.

One of the charged officers is a senior inspector and the others are constables.

The six accused men were bailed at 2000 pa'anga ($1400) each and with a 1000 pa'anga ($700) surety.

They were ordered by Nuku'alofa Magistrate's Court to surrender their passports and are prohibited from travelling outside Tongatapu.

All six are charged with manslaughter and an alternative charge of causing grievous bodily harm.

The three officers arrested yesterday were Inspector Kelepi Hala'ufia and constables Manu Tu'ivai and Tevita Vakalahi.

The three people initially charged were Semisi Kalisitiane Manu and constables Salesi Maile and Fatai Faletau.

The six accused will be back before court on October 1.


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