30 Aug 2010

Tonga orders Supreme Court judge involved in Ashika enquiry to stop hearing cases

7:54 pm on 30 August 2010

The Supreme Court judge who presided over the Ashika enquiry in Tonga has been told to stop sitting as a judge and to hand all his files to the acting Chief Justice.

Justice Warwick Andrew was due to finish in early October after the Government refused to extend his contract, but he's now told law practitioners a decision by the Tonga Cabinet forced him to stop hearing cases early.

The President of the Law Society in Tonga, Laki Niu, says Justice Andrew is now heading home to Australia.

Mr Niu says he has no idea why Justice Andrew had been asked to leave just as he was about to deliver judgements on at least five cases and when he still had just over a month to go on his contract.

"He's now gone, we have to start from square one and recall the witnesses from overseas again at great cost to the parties and the counsel and I don't know who would bear those."

The President of the Law Society in Tonga Laki Niu.