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From the Courts

Judge orders new jurors for the 14kg marijuana trial

Nuku'alofa, Tonga

The retrial of Siaosi Kadivuka Amanoni and Semi Vete Jr., which began yesterday March 5 at the Nuku'alofa Supreme Court, has been declared a mistrial and it was ordered that new jurors be selected on Thursday, March 8.

The two men, who face charges in relation to the importation of 14 kilograms of marijuana to Tonga from Fiji in 2003, will have their case be heard before a new jury.

Mr Justice Laurenson declared the mistrial yesterday after finding out that the juror's foreman works at the Global Insurance an associated company of Global Fishing where the accused Amanoni works and the two companies also operate from the same building.

Amanoni was also set to call on his manager at the Global Fishing to give evidence on his behalf, and the judge concluded that because he did not want the foreman to feel pressured he ordered for a retrial of the case to be heard before new jurors.

The new jury of seven will be selected on Thursday, when the trial will begin for the third time.