15 Feb 2006

Sentencing of former Tonga Speaker put off until tomorrow

4:08 pm on 15 February 2006

The sentencing of the former speaker of parliament in Tonga has been adjourned until tomorrow morning.

Chief Justice Robin Webster who presided over the hearing this morning told the court that he needs time to consider the submissions made by the defendant which includes a medical report saying that he is physically unfit to serve a prison sentence.

A jury found Siosifa Fatafehi Fuatakifolaha guilty last month on two counts of bribing a Government servant and tax evasion.

Mr Fuatakifolaha was stripped of his noble title of Veikune, and his estates, as a result of his conviction.

Mr Fuatakifolaha's lawyer asked the Chief Justice to consider a fine to be paid in installments instead of imprisonment.