31 Aug 2010

Tonga Government denies judge removed early, says he asked to go

1:40 pm on 31 August 2010

The Tongan government says the departure of a Supreme Court Judge who headed the Ashika ferry disaster enquiry comes because Cabinet had approved his request to finish early.

Justice Warwick Andrew told legal practitioners yesterday he'd been asked to no longer remain sitting despite a contract with one month left to run.

The Law Society's expressed disappointment as Justice Andrew still had five cases left to deliver judgements on and he'd returned from leave to finish them.

Tonga's Acting Secretary for Justice, Nunia Mone, says the judge has finished up early because he'd also asked for pre-termination leave and Cabinet approved that.

"The judge has indicated his wishes to end his contract early and government approved it. As to the disappointment of the members of the Law Society I am sure they would be able to take it up locally with appropriate authorities to clarify the situation.'"

Tonga's Acting Secretary for Justice, Nunia Mone