3 Sep 2012

Tonga police should face manslaughter charge over NZ police death: Commissioner

2:33 pm on 3 September 2012

Tonga's Police Commissioner says two officers released on bail today over the death of a New Zealand police office 10 days ago should be charged with manslaughter.

The Tongan police say Kali Fungavaka was assaulted in a police cell after his arrest on a charge of minor drunkenness outside a bar in the centre of the capital, Nuku'alofa.

The officers, Salesi Maili and Fatai Faletau, have been bailed on a charge of common assault until they appear in court on October the 1st and a civilian who also allegedly assaulted Mr Fungavaka remains in custody.

Grant O'Fee says despite earlier advice to the contrary from the Solicitor General's office, any change to the charges will only be made once an examination of the forensic evidence in New Zealand is complete.

"It's my personal view that the charges should be laid but it's not my decision, it's a decision for him to make and he's absolutely entitled to do it properly and ask for more information so I think that we just have to work within the system and supply him with all the information we can and I'm meeting him tomorrow morning."

Tonga's Police Commissioner Grant O'Fee.