18 Jan 2011

Four to stand trial over Tonga ferry sinking

12:15 pm on 18 January 2011

A New Zealander is among four people whose manslaughter trial over the sinking of a ferry in Tonga will begin next month.

The jury trial will begin in the Nuku'alofa Supreme Court on 7 February before Justice Robert Schuster.

The accused include New Zealander John Jonesse who headed the shipping company responsible for the Princess Ashika which sank in August 2009 killing 74 people.

Tonga's solicitor general, Aminiasi Kefu, says the four and the company responsible for operating the vessel, the Shipping Corporation of Polynesia, are all facing charges of manslaughter by negligence.

The group denies the charges. The trial is expected to last about a month.