31 Mar 2011

Tonga ferry jury to resume deliberations

9:08 am on 31 March 2011

The jury in the Princess Ashika trial in Tonga is due to reassemble on Thursday morning to consider its verdict.

Seventy-four people died when the passenger ferry sank on 5 August 2009.

The Shipping Corporation of Polynesia, its former director New Zealander John Jonesse, Tonga's acting director of marine and the ferry's skipper and first mate are charged with manslaughter by negligence.

Judge Robert Shuster has told the jury to take note of key witnesses, including the crew's account of the difficulties they had bailing water and reporting problems to senior officers on the night the ferry sank.

The judge also reminded them of surveys which showed the ship's deteriorating condition and that the owners were aware of the state of the ship, Radio New Zealand International reports.