5 Apr 2007

Tonga's People's Representatives facing charges frustrated over delays

10:46 am on 5 April 2007

The Tonga's People's Representatives facing sedition charges in connection to last November's riot in Nukualofa have expressed frustration at their cases being deferred yet again.

The five representatives, including leading Pro-Democracy MP Akilisi Pohiva, are due in the Magistrate's Court today to settle a date for the actual hearing of their case.

The appearance had been deferred until tomorrow to give a member of the Crown prosecution's legal team, New Zealand lawyer Peter Little, sufficient time to prepare for the case.

Our correspondent Mateni Tapueluelu says that normally hearings before the Magistrate are handled by the police.

"It has been a little irritating to the lawyer of the People's Representatives, Clive Edwards, and he of course is being charged, but they have been a little impatient at the fact that their cases have been delayed without actual hearing. So it is indicative that the government is taking the matter with the People's Representatives very seriously that they're bringing foreign lawyers to handle the case."

Mateni Tapueluelu.