5 Aug 2010

Tonga to enquire into alleged Government interference in judiciary

5:02 pm on 5 August 2010

Tonga's Privy Council is setting up a commission of inquiry to look into reports the Government has attempted to unduly influence the independence of the judiciary.

It follows allegations of Government interference made by John Cauchi when he resigned as Attorney General last April.

Mr Cauchi was angry the executive was appointing judges without reference to the Attorney General or the Judicial Services Commission.

He called these moves unconstitutional and said they compromised the integrity of the judiciary.

The Commission is now to be abolished and appointments of judges will in future be made by an appointee of the King.

A statement from the Privy Council says it's keen to reassert that it won't tolerate interference with the judiciary and that it will protect at all times its integrity and independence.

Cabinet Ministers in Tonga also sit on the Privy Council.