27 Sep 2012

More Tonga police charged over death of Kali Fungavaka

4:16 pm on 27 September 2012

Another 3 Tongan police officers have been charged in relation to the death of New Zealand policeman, Kali Fungavaka, in Nuku'alofa last month.

They appeared in court today and have been charged with manslaughter.

Another two officers, charged earlier with common assault, have had their charges upgraded to manslaughter ahead of a court appearance on Monday.

Don Wiseman reports:

"Kali Fungavaka died in hospital six days after he was allegedly assaulted in custody. He had been arrested on what police said was a minor drunkeness charge while in Tonga for a family funeral. One of the 3 charged today is a commissioned officer and he was a supervisor on the night that Mr Fungavaka was arrested. The other two are constables. A civilian, Semisi Manu, who was in a cell with Mr Fungavaka, is also facing a manslaughter charge after initially being charged with murder. All six charged will appear in court again next Monday. The Police Commissioner, Grant O'Fee, says the 5 officers, who are on bail, are suspended without pay. He says a planned public inquiry into the alleged use of excessive force by Tongan police won't get underway until after the trials for these men are completed."