18 Oct 2011

Tongan nobles vote for law change ahead of court appearances

1:14 pm on 18 October 2011

The Tongan opposition leader Akilisi Pohiva says two nobles should never have been allowed to vote on a bill that had a direct impact on them.

Last week, parliament voted in favour of a bill that reduces the penalties for the illegal possession of firearms from seven years imprisionment to one year.

Lord Tui'ilakepa and Lord Tu'iha'ateiho both have court cases pending on charges relating to illegal possession of a firearm, yet they both voted in support of the bill.

Akilisi Pohiva says it was completely inappropriate.

"The speaker of the house should move that these two nobles who should not be in the house during the deliberation and the ballot they should be requested to move out from the house and allow the members to freely discuss the matter in question."

Akilisi Pohiva.

There have been recent reports that the speaker of parliament Lord Lasike is also due for a court date on one count of unlawful possession of ammunition.