EMBARGOED UNTIL 12 PM TONGA TIME
Attorney General’s Office
DRAFT MEDIA RELEASE
1 The Attorney General’s Office wishes to inform the public that today Thursday 3 March 2016, the Supreme Court made a declaration that wrongful actions of certain Police Officers as servants of the Kingdom of Tonga towards Kali Fungavaka on the night of 17 August and morning of 18 August 2012 amounted to a breach of his Constitutional rights to life, liberty and freedom within Tonga as provided for in the Constitution of Tonga.
2 Mr Fungavaka was a New Zealand police officer of Tongan ethnicity, who had died on 23 August 2012 in Nuku’alofa as a result of being assaulted by certain Police Officers and a civilian, whilst he was in Police custody and in the Police cells on the night of 17 August and the morning of 18 August 2012.
3 The five Police Officers and civilian involved in the assaults were charged and prosecuted in 2014. Two Police Officers were convicted of manslaughter and one Police Officer was convicted of common assault. The civilian was convicted in a separate trial by a judge and jury with causing grievous harm to Mr Fungavaka. The two Police Officers convicted of manslaughter were sentenced to 11 years imprisonment, with one year suspended, and 9 years imprisonment, with one year suspended, respectively. The other Police Officer convicted of common assault, and the civilian, received fully suspended imprisonment sentences.
4 This declaration made by the Supreme Court under clause 103A of the Constitution was the final outcome of the civil case lodged against the Crown by Ms Audra Watts, as the Administrator of the estate of the late Kali Peaua Fungavaka.
5 As a result of the Court declaration, the Crown then entered into a deed of settlement with the estate of the deceased to compensate them for their loss, related out of pocket expenses and legal costs. That deed of settlement is confidential between the parties, but it was based on achieving justice for both parties.
6 In accepting the amicable resolution of the matter, legal counsel for Ms Watts, Mr Frank Hogan of Auckland New Zealand stated that he commended the Crown for taking its stance in this case, and allowing justice to be served, and also providing final closure for Ms Watts. He added that Ms Watts acknowledges the entitlement of the 5 children of Kali Fungavaka to some of the settlement provided by the Crown, and so she will within one month take steps to set up an appropriate trust or trusts for the children.
7 In response, the Acting Attorney General stated that he was pleased that such an amicable resolution was achieved by the Crown, and that there is satisfaction for both sides after this tragic incident. He also wished to assure the public that the Crown and Tonga Police are doing everything it possibly can to provide the appropriate training and resources to Police officers to avoid any repeat of this incident.
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For further information, please contact: ‘Aminiasi Kefu, Acting Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecutions, Attorney General’s Office Office Line: (676) 24055/24007 / Direct Line: (676) 25347 / Mobile: 7715314 ; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Issued by the Office of the Acting Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecutions ;Attorney General’s Office First Floor, Taumoepeau Building Corner of Fatafehi and Salote Roads Nuku’alofa KINGDOM OF TONGA Contact Details: Postal Address: PO Box 85, Nuku’alofa, Kingdom of Tonga Telephone: (676) 24 055 / 24 007 Fax: (676) 24 005 Office Hours: 8:30 am-4:30 pm, Mon – Fri Email: email@example.com Website: www.crownlaw.gov.to/cms