9 Mar 2016

Tonga to apologise to late officer's family

8:50 am on 9 March 2016

The Tongan government is to apologise to the family of the late New Zealand police officer, Kali Fungavaka, who died after being assaulted while in police custody in 2012.

The apology is part of a settlement package, between the crown and Mr Fungavaka's widow, Audra Watts, with the crown also agreeing to pay compensation.

Tonga's acting attorney general, Aminiasi Kefu, said he will be making the apology, jointly with the Tongan police commissioner, on behalf of the government.

Acting AG, Aminiasi Kefu.

Acting AG, Aminiasi Kefu. Photo: twitter

He said the police have been in contact with Ms Watts assuring her of improvements made within the police force following Mr Fungavaka's death.

"Mainly to the facilities, and also training. So we have reassured her that everything that we could possibly do is being taken by Tonga police and also the crown. Tonga police and also the Tongan government is taking this incident very seriously. It's very tragic that it's happened, but it's something that I also hope will improve policing in Tonga."

Aminiasi Kefu said police are doing their best to ensure such an incident doesn't occur again.

Part of the package of settlement was the Supreme Court order which declared the actions of the Tongan policemen amounted to a breach of Kali Fungavaka's constitutional rights and his basic rights to life, liberty and freedom.

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