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Results for From the Courts

Monday 4 April 2011
Nuku'alofa, Tonga
A total of $2 million in fines was today imposed on the ferry operator, Shipping Corporation of Polynesia, while its former Managing Director John Jonesse (62) was sent to Hu'atolitoli Prison for five years, along with the Captain and First Mate serving lesser jail terms for convictions on charges relating to the sinking of the MV Princess Ashika in August 2009 with the loss of 74 lives.
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Friday 1 April 2011
Nuku'alofa, Tonga
All defendants are guilty on all charges, the Ashika jury has decided after 10 hours of deliberation, delivering their verdict to the Nuku'alofa Supreme Court at 10:20 am this morning.
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Wednesday 30 March 2011
Nuku'alofa, Tonga
A seven-member jury in the Ashika trial retired at 3:11pm today to begin their deliberation on their verdict in a trial of the ferry operator and other four persons, including the captain and the first mate, the former Managing Director of the Shipping Corporation of Polynesia and the Acting Director of Marine.
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Tuesday 29 March 2011
Nuku'alofa, Tonga
The seven jurors in the MV Princess Ashika trial are expected to retire tomorrow afternoon, March 30.
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Tuesday 29 March 2011
Nuku'alofa, Tonga
Mr Justice Robert Shuster in his final summing up of the Ashika trial on March 29 directed jurors that "who to blame for this tragic incident" was not for their consideration because their focus must be based entirely on evidence presented in court in relation to the charges faced by the five defendants.
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Friday 25 March 2011
Nuku'alofa, Tonga
Holding up photographs of welding damage and holes in the hull, the Crown Prosecutor 'Aminiasi Kefu told a jury that the MV Princess Ashika was grossly unseaworthy and should never have been sent or taken to sea with passengers and cargo onboard; and he asked: "How could they disregard this, would you disregard this?."
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Thursday 24 March 2011
Nuku'alofa, Tonga
Defence counsel told the Ashika trial yesterday that the first mate of the MV Princess Ashika, Semisi Pomale, did his best in carrying out his duties onboard the MV Princess Ashika while he was in charge from 8pm to 12pm on August 5, 2009.
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Tuesday 22 March 2011
Nuku'alofa, Tonga
Captain of the MV Princess Ashika Viliami Makahokovalu Tuputupu sailed with a Provisional Certificate of Survey issued by the Government of Tonga's Department of Marine declaring the vessel seaworthy to sail in Tonga, defence counsel Sifa Tu'utafaiva submitted today.
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Tuesday 22 March 2011
Nuku'alofa, Tonga
The counsel for Acting Director of Marine Viliami Tu'ipulotu argued on March 22 that his client signed the Provisional Certificate of Survey dated July 3, 2009 allowing the vessel to sail, because it confirmed that a survey was actually carried out on the vessel.
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Monday 21 March 2011
Nuku'alofa, Tonga
TheShipping Corporation of Polynesia Ltd in its defence argued at the Nuku'alofa Supreme Court on March 21, that the company acted lawfully when sending the MV Princess Ashika to sea, because they were issued valid Provisional Certificates of Survey and Registration.
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Monday 21 March 2011
Nuku'alofa, Tonga
Defence counsel Laki Niu submitted to jurors in the Ashika trial that the Crown Prosecution had not provided any evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt the eight counts against his client, John Jonesse.
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Friday 18 March 2011
Nuku'alofa, Tonga
After the Crown Prosecution closed its case, calling its final witness around noon on March 16, the counsel for the five defendants in the Ashika trial elected that their clients would remain silent.
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Tuesday 15 March 2011
Nuku'alofa, Tonga
The Ashika Captain Makahokovalu Tuputupu in his record of interview to the police on February 23, 2010 admitted that he knew the vessel was unsuitable to sail in Tongan waters but he still took it to sea because he relied on the surveys conducted by the country the vessel was brought from and the survey conducted by Tonga's Marine Division.
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Tuesday 15 March 2011
Nuku'alofa, Tonga
In his record of interview conducted by the police in March 2010, defendant Semisi Pomale, the Ashika's First Mate, accepted that he was part of the negligence that led to the sinking of the MV Princess Ashika on August 5, 2009.
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Friday 11 March 2011
Nuku'alofa, Tonga
THE brother of Vaefetu'u Mahe (22) whose body was one of only two recovered after the sinking of the MV Princess Ashika in his evidence on March 10, said he identified his sister's body at the Vaiola Hospital mortuary following its recovery on August 6, 2009.
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Thursday 10 March 2011
Nuku'alofa, Tonga
A jury found a 34-year-old shipping clerk not guilty on five counts of embezzling just over $10,000 from Dateline Shipping Co in 2007, in a verdict delivered this afternoon at the Supreme Court in Nuku'alofa.
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Wednesday 9 March 2011
Nuku'alofa, Tonga
Surviving crew member Benjamin Tupou who was on watch duty on the bridge from 8pm to when the MV Princess Ashika sank just before midnight on August 5, 2009, said that he woke up at 7:40pm that night to find water inside the cabin and some of his fellow crew member were bailing it out.
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Monday 7 March 2011
Nuku'alofa, Tonga
Two former employees at the Forum Travel office in Nuku'alofa pleaded not guilty to the theft and embezzlement of over $300,000 pa'anga when they appeared at the Supreme Court in Nuku'alofa on Friday, March 4.
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Monday 7 March 2011
Nuku'alofa, Tonga
A 24-year-old man from Hofoa in Tongatapu was sentenced to three years imprisonment for six counts including theft, housebreaking and indecent assault, on March 4 at the Supreme Court in Nuku'alofa.
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Friday 4 March 2011
Nuku'alofa, Tonga
A passenger who sailed on the Princess Ashika's final voyage on August 5, 2009 and survived by climbing over the bottom of the vessel as it capsized, told the Supreme Court in Nuku'alofa that water was leaking into the cargo deck hours before the vessel sank.
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