27 Feb 2015

Sentencing papers for Tongan noble released

7:31 am on 27 February 2015

Tonga's Chief Justice Owen Paulsen has released sentencing documents in the controversial Lord Tu'ilakepa case

The National Shield of Tonga

The National Shield of Tonga Photo: RNZI

This month, Noble's Representative Tu'ilakepa, was fined after being convicted for the illegal possession of guns and ammunition.

Earlier, Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva had launched an attack on the acting attorney general, Aminiasi Kefu, claiming he had ignored public empathy, and lacked impartiality, independence and fairness in pleading for a lesser sentence.

The Attorney-General said he was advising the court, as his position requires.

Matangi Tonga reports the Crown submitted that mitigating factors included that the defendant had admitted he had weapons, he had pleaded guilty early and had no previous conviction.

The Crown and defence counsel agreed the offending was at the lower-to-middle range of offending and that the defendant was remorseful and unlikely to re-offend.

The Crown submitted that because of this, a fully suspended sentence of two years may be appropriate, or a fine of between 500 and 750 US dollars.

Tu'ilakepa received a fine of 5,000 US dollars, or 6 months imprisonment if he defaulted.