8 Feb 2011

Crown presents its case in Princess Ashika trial in Tonga

7:26 am on 8 February 2011

The Crown in Tonga is due to begin presenting its case this morning against four men, including a New Zealand businessman, charged over the sinking of the Princess Ashika ferry.

The ferry went down in Tongan waters in August 2009, killing 74 people.

The New Zealander is John Jonesse, who headed the Shipping Corporation of Polynesia, which is also charged.

The other men are the ship's captain, its first mate and a former Ministry of Transport director, who are all accused of manslaughter by negligence.

Between them, they face nearly 30 charges that include taking an unseaworthy ship to sea.

A jury of four men and three women was selected yesterday for the Tonga Supreme Court trial, in Nuku'alofa.