10 Nov 2010

Supreme Court Judge in Tonga clarifies quashing decision

10:06 am on 10 November 2010

In Tonga, the Supreme Court Judge Robert Shuster says quashing an indictment is not the same as acquitting a defendant.

Justice Shuster was referring to the perjury case brought by the Crown against Law Lord, Ramsay Dalgety.

Jo O'Brien reports.

"Matangi Tonga online reports Justice Shuster clarified in a 11 page document reasons for quashing the indictment against Lord Dalgety. In the document, Justice Shuster said the Dalgety case was the only indictment on file with no stamp, no date and no signature on the indictment. He also said in the document that there was no record of the defendant's election and plea recorded with a judge's signature. The Supreme Court Judge added that it is accepted practice in Commonwealth Jurisdictions that if an indictment is quashed, the defendant may be committed again for trial by going through the committal procedure again from the start. But he stressed that is entirely a matter for the Crown. Meanwhile, the Solicitor General 'Aminiasi Kefu, the Crown Counsel in this case, told Matangi Tonga Online the Crown will appeal against Justice Shuster's ruling of November 1. Mr Kefu says the Crown believes the judge's ruling to quash the indictment was wrong."