Four Tongan Lords, including the current Speaker of Parliament, a former Speaker of Parliament, a current Noble’s Representative to Parliament and a Law Lord each have pending court cases in Tonga’s courts, after being charged with offences ranging from illicit drugs to illegal possession of firearms, ammunitions, and perjury.
From the Courts
Mele Tatafu Heitonga (32) a former accounts clerk of ‘Uta’atu & Associates in Nuku’alofa, was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment after pleading guilty to ten counts of forgery and theft of over $130,000, at the Nuku‘alofa Supreme Court on May 10.
Mosese Manuofetoa was fined $150 after pleading guilty to one charge of assault, at the Nuku’alofa Magistrate’s Court on Friday, May 4.
Justice Robert Shuster has his final day on the bench today, May 7 after being a judge of the Supreme Court of Tonga during the past four years, and have presided over 800 cases.
Justice Charles Cato, a New Zealander, was sworn in this morning, May 3, as Tonga’s second Supreme Court Judge, replacing Justice Robert Shuster who has been a judge of the Tongan Supreme Court during the past four years.
A six-years imprisonment sentence was imposed on a 49-year-old father on numerous charges of incest and indecent assault, that he had repeatedly committed on his young daughter from 2005-09.
Justice James Burchett (81), Tonga’s longest serving judge of its Court of Appeal, for 20 years, retired from the service on Friday, April 27.
The first sitting of Tonga’s Court of Appeal ended at the Supreme Court in Nuku’alofa and delivered judgments, that reduced the imprisonment sentence of a man who was convicted of raping and indecently assaulting a 19-year-old girl, who was his close relative.
The first sitting of Tonga’s Court of Appeal for this year started on April 16-27 and will hear eight appeal cases, at the Supreme Court in Nuku’alofa.
A former female employee at the Westpac Bank of Tonga branch has been released on bail after she was charged by police with 18 counts of embezzlement.