19 Jul 2010

Former Tonga Justice Minister says Appeal Court decision proof that system working

6:54 am on 19 July 2010

A former Minister of Justice and Attorney General in Tonga says an Appeal Court decision to overturn a sentence that imposed whipping is proof that the justice system is working.

Justice Robert Shuster's February sentencing of two 17-year-old offenders to six lashes and imprisonment for burglary and escaping from prison met with strong opposition and sparked calls for the punishment to be outlawed.

Former Attorney General, 'Alisi Taumoepeau, who lost her posts after clashing with the Prime Minister over interference in judicial appointments, says Justice Shuster's judgements will receive more scrutiny.

Tonga loses two of its three expatriate Supreme Court judges next month and the Legislative Assembly has abolished the independent Judicial Services Commission that appoints judges.