More police charged over death in Tonga

Last updated 14:44 27/09/2012
Kali Fungavaka
Fairfax NZ
VICTIM: Kali Fungavaka.

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Three more police officers - including an inspector - have been charged in relation to the death of Auckland police officer Kali Fungavaka.

Matangi Tonga Online today reported a police inspector, who was a supervising officer on the night Fungavaka was allegedly assaulted in police custody, had been charged with manslaughter and would appear in the Nuku'alofa Magistrate's Court this afternoon.

He will appear alongside two other constables who were working with him on the night.

Fungavaka, who was in Tonga to attend a family funeral, was locked up at the Nuku'alofa central police station after being arrested for drunkenness on August 17. He was allegedly assaulted by fellow detainee Semisi Kalisitiane Manu.

Fungavaka died at Vaiola Hospital six days later.

A total of five police officers have now been charged over Fungavaka's death.

The two constables originally charged with common assault - Salesi Maile and Fatai Faletau - would have their charges upgraded to manslaughter when they appear at the Magistrate's Court on Monday.

The three newly charged officers would also re-appear in the court on the same day as would Manu, who is currently in custody.

Police Commissioner Grant O'Fee told Matangi Tonga Online that the additional arrests were the result of people both within the police force and the community coming forward with information.

"We interviewed them and all evidence was evaluated by us and the Solicitor General's office and it was determined this was the appropriate charge to be made," he said.

The arrested officers are currently suspended from Tonga Police while the investigation into Fungavaka's death continues.

An Australian Federal Police investigator is expected to arrive in Tonga on October 18.

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