11 Oct 2010

Dates set for trials of four charged over Tonga's Ashika disaster

3:59 pm on 11 October 2010

Trial dates have been set for four people accused over the sinking of the Princess Ashika in Tonga.

The four, along with the company which operated the vessel, have been charged with manslaughter by negligence, over the death of Vae Fetu'u Taufa, one of the 74 people who died in the ferry tragedy last year.

There will be two trials.

The first, a jury trial, for the former managing director of the Shipping Corporation of Polynesia, John Jonesse, the Ashika's captain, Makahokovalu Tuputupu, and his first mate, Semisi Pomale, starts on February 7th next year.

A separate trial, for the corporation and the acting Director of Marine, Viliami Tu'ipulotu, will be heard by newly appointed Chief Justice Michael Scott.

It is set to begin a month later.