30 Nov 2013

Deputy Speaker of Tonga's Parliament pleads not guilty to firearm charge

9:07 am on 30 November 2013

The trial for the Deputy Speaker of Tonga's Parliament, Lord Tu'iha'ateiho, charged with possession of a firearm without a license, has been adjourned until next year.

Radio Tonga reports the accused and his legal counsel Kahu Afeaki appeared before Justice Charles Cato in the Supreme Court Friday morning and pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Lord Tu'iha'ateiho was charged in August 2010 and Justice Cato questioned why the trial took so long.

The legal counsel for the Crown, Sione Sisifa says that Sifa Tu'utafaiva had previously represented the accused before Mr Afeaki, and that Lord Tu'iha'ateiho is also a noble representative to Parliament.

Mr Afeaki made submissions in court on Friday to change the charges against Lord Tu'iha'ateiho.

But Mr Sisifa said no one is allowed to posses firearms without a license.