30 Mar 2011

Closing of Ashika trial raises Tonga public interest

3:59 pm on 30 March 2011

The judge in the Ashika trial has been finishing summing up the case of four men and a shipping company accused of manslaughter in relation to the Tongan ferry's sinking.

Judge Robert Shuster has told the jury to take note of key witnesses including the crew's account of the difficulties they had bailing water and reporting problems to senior officers on the night of the sinking.

He's also reminded them of surveys which showed the ship's deteriorating condition, and that the owners were aware of the state of the ship.

Our correspondent Filemaka Fihaki says the jury could soon begin considering its verdict, which could draw bigger crowds


There's been an increase in the public to court in the last couple of days. I think the public is sensing that this is coming to an end soon. So the number of people turning up is increasing and I think more people will be turning up to court to hear the verdict.

Filemaka Fihaki says a verdict could be reached as early as tomorrow evening.