19 May 2014

Second of two trials in Tonga over death of NZ policeman

7:49 pm on 19 May 2014

The trial of a Tongan civilian charged with manslaughter over the death in custody of a New Zealand police officer has been told that the accused punched the victim.

Semisi Kalisitania Manu was detained in the same cell as Kali Fungavaka in August of 2012.

His jury trial is now underway after the trial of five policemen on the same charge finished last week, with that decision being held back until the second case is complete.

Matangi Tonga reports the Crown Prosecutor 'Aminiasi Kefu telling the jury Mr Fungavaka's death was caused by the actions of six people.

The Crown says Semisi Manu had punched Mr Fungavaka in the face during an argument and he fell and hit his head on the cell's concrete floor.

Mr Kefu says the Crown believes the five policemen, in a joint enterprise, assaulted Mr Fungavaka in a series of attacks after he was first arrested outside a bar in Nuku'alofa.

This was then followed by Semisi Manu's alleged assault.