15 Apr 2011

Tongan Lord to go back on trial after Appeal Court revives perjury charge

4:33 pm on 15 April 2011

The Tonga Court of Appeal has overturned the quashing of a perjury charge brought against Lord Ramsay Dalgety.

Lord Dalgety, the secretary of the Shipping Corporation of Polynesia, was charged with perjury after he'd given evidence at the royal commission of inquiry into the sinking of the Princess Ashika.

The unseaworthy inter island ferry sank in August 2009 with 74 people losing their lives.

Justice Robert Shuster had quashed the charge on the grounds the indictment hadn't been signed, but the Solicitor General, Aminiasi Kefu, contended he had no basis in Tongan law to make such a decision.

He says the Appeal Court decision gives certainty, not only for the Crown, but the whole Tongan criminal justice system.

Mr Kefu says they will now wait for direction from the Chief Justice on when a new trial can be held.