11 Nov 2015

Convicts dumped in Tonga by NZ

4:01 pm on 11 November 2015

People convicted of serious crimes are being sent back to Tonga from New Zealand without appropriate notification, says a former Tongan Justice Minister.

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Photo: 123rf

Last week, a man was sentenced to jail for the manslaughter of a man in Tonga, just two months after his deportation in 2014.

Patrick 'Unga had earlier served time in New Zealand for killing his fiancé in 2003.

The presiding judge said it was only after the trial that he learned the prisoner had previously been convicted of murder.

Clive Edwards, who was Tonga's Minister of Justice in 2014, said countries like the US and New Zealand were dumping serious offenders in Tonga, and this was causing problems.

"They've just been dumped back without any notification. That stuff has happened. While I was Justice Minister, I wasn't aware of the deportations or anybody brought in but all of a sudden we see that somebody has come back.

"They're deported from New Zealand with some police escort or immigration escort to Tonga and then they take off and we're not notified."

His comments follow ongoing debate in New Zealand about how the deportation of New Zealanders who have been living in Australia should be handled.