14 May 2013

Tonga considering clean slate legislation: police commissioner

3:27 pm on 14 May 2013

Tonga's police commissioner says the government is considering introducing clean slate legislation, following the discovery that more than 170 people, some convicted of serious crimes, had their criminal records cleared.

New Zealand is among countries with clean slate laws which limit the effect of a person's convictions, if those with convictions meet relevant criteria.

The revelation that 172 people in Tonga had their records wiped, mainly so they could apply for overseas visas, sparked an investigation in February.

The commissioner Grant O'Fee says a former police minister authorised the clearances without the necessary laws being in place.

"But having said that, some of these offences were so serious, that even under the most liberal clean slate legislation, you would never have wiped - I mean, I don't know of any country in the world that allows for rape and manslaughter and serious grievous bodily harm cases to be clean-slated, so to speak."

Tonga's police commissioner, Grant O'Fee.