6 Dec 2007

Group convicted of 17 charges over Tonga riot

4:20 pm on 6 December 2007

For the first time a group, including a woman, has been found guilty of crimes committed during last year's riot in the Tonga capital, Nuku'alofa.

The six men and one woman were the second group to face charges relating to the riot, but the first convicted after the initial group was found not guilty.

The senior crown lawyer, Aminasi Kefu, says a jury found the accused guilty on a total of seventeen charges.

"All these seven accused were charged with riotous assembly, there were six accused charged with damage to buildings, which involved the prime minister's office, ministry of finance, the supreme and main street court buildings, and the Molisi Tonga supermarket. And three were charged with housebreaking in relation to the damage."

Aminasi Kefu says three of the accused told the jury they were supporters of the pro-democracy movement at the time of the riot.

The sentencing will take place on February 8.