24 Apr 2014

Tonga crown witness saw NZ policeman put in chokehold and stomped on

8:09 am on 24 April 2014

A police witness has told the Supreme Court in Tonga he saw a police Inspector put New Zealand policeman Kali Fungavaka in a chokehold, while another officer later stomped on the victim's head.

Mr Fungavaka died in August 2012 while in custody and five police officers are standing trial on manslaughter charges over the death.

Matangi Tonga reports crown witness Constable Tokemoana Tongamoa, told the court that he saw Mr Fungavaka put in a chokehold by Police Inspector Kelepi Hala'ufia, as an attempt to make Mr Fungavaka sit down.

Mr Tongamoa said that he later saw two other police officers dragging Mr Fungavaka on the floor, and one stomped on his head.

Police Inspector Hala'ufia and Police Constables Salesi Maile, Tevita Vakalahi, Manu Tu'ivai and Fatai Faletau have pleaded not guilty to manslaughter with an alternative charge of grievous bodily harm.

Civilian Semisi Manu has also been charged and is to be tried separately.

Matangi Tonga reports the Crown Prosecutor intends calling 30 witnesses to give evidence.