11 Sep 2007

Crown withdraws six charges against five People's Representatives in Tonga

3:25 pm on 11 September 2007

The five People's Representatives in Tonga charged with seven criminal charges relating to last November's riots will now face only one charge of sedition each.

The Matangi Tonga online reports that 'Akilisi Pohiva, 'Isileli Pulu, Clive Edwards, 'Uliti Uata and Lepolo Taunisila, first appeared in the Nuku'alofa Supreme Court on July the 18th.

Then, the five were charged with one count of sedition and six counts of abetment to cause disruption resulting in the destruction of six different premises in the capital Nukualofa on November the 16th of last year.

Chief Justice Anthony Ford told the court, that following a preliminary inquiry, the cases were filed for a hearing in the Supreme Court.

However, two days later the Court received a notice from Crown Law of their intent to withdraw the previous indictments and file new indictments of sedition only on each accused.

The five accused have all pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The jury trial of the four accused is set to begin in two months.

Clive Edwards's trial is to be set for a separate date.