Hearing into cop's death delayed

Last updated 15:21 25/02/2013
Kali Fungavaka
Fairfax NZ
VICTIM: Kali Fungavaka.

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A preliminary hearing into the death of a South Auckland police officer in a Tongan police station has been delayed.

Kali Fungavaka died in hospital in Nuku'alofa after he was allegedly assaulted while in custody at the central police station there on August 17 last year.

He was in the country for a family funeral and had been arrested for public drunkenness.

Nuku'alofa Magistrate's Court was adjourned this morning when it was discovered the evidence of three accused police officers would clash with evidence of a civilian who is also charged. All of them are currently represented by the same counsel.

The court was adjourned to allow the accused to find separate legal representation, Matangi Tonga reported.

It is the first day of a preliminary inquiry, which implicates five Tongan police officers and one other man in causing the death of Fungavaka.

The six men charged with manslaughter, with an alternative charge of causing grievous bodily harm, are Inspector Kelepi Hala'ufia along with four police constables Manu Tu'ivai, Tevita Vakalahi, Salesi Maile, Fatai Faletau and Kalisitiane Manu, who was a detainee at the time.

Fungavaka's family members, including his wife Audra, mother Rosemary and younger brother Bishop, were present this morning at a full court house in Fasi.

The inquiry is scheduled to last three days.

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- Auckland Now

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