27 Aug 2012

Tonga Police Commissioner promises 'robust' inquiry into death of NZ police officer

1:52 pm on 27 August 2012

The Tongan Police Commissioner has launched a second investigation into the death of the New Zealand police officer Kali Fungavaka.

Two Tongan officers and a member of the public, who are charged with assaulting Mr Fungavaka, have been remanded in custody after making a brief appearance in court today.

Mr Fungavaka died in a Nuku'alofa hospital last Thursday.

Police say he had been assaulted in a police cell after being arrested on a minor drunkenness charge.

The Commissioner Grant O'Fee says as well as the homicide investigation, an inquiry into whether police processes were followed while dealing with Mr Fungavaka will also be held.

"Once I have, and this will be some time down the track, the results of these two investigations. That is the homicide and the investigation into whether the processes were followed we will be taking advice from the Solicitor General and looking at what charges will be laid, but also looking whether there in fact is a need for a real look at the culture, as you call it, within the Tongan police."

Grant O'Fee says Mr Fungavaka's death is tragic and he would like to reassure the public that it will be a robust inquiry.