Court date for officer's manslaughter accused

MICHAEL FIELD
Last updated 09:05 31/10/2012
Kali Fungavaka
Fairfax NZ
VICTIM: Kali Fungavaka.

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Five Tongan police officers and a civilian will appear in court on Friday charged with the manslaughter of a New Zealand policeman in August.

South Auckland constable Kali Fungavaka died in hospital in Nuku’alofa after he was allegedly assaulted while in custody at the Nuku'alofa central police station on August 17.

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

News website Matangi Tonga said six men will appear in the Nuku'alofa Magistrate's Court on Friday, November 2.

Deputy Police Commissioner 'Unga Fa'aoa told the website the accused would appear in open court so that the Crown and defence counsel could decide how to deal with case at the lower court.

The lower court could send the case directly to the Supreme Court, or could hold a deposition hearing to decide whether there was a case.

The six men charged with manslaughter, with an alternative charge of causing grievous bodily harm, are Inspector Kelepi Hala'ufia and constables Manu Tu'ivai, Tevita Vakalahi, Salesi Maile and Fatai Faletau. A man who was being held in custody with Constable Fungavaka is also charged. He is Semisi Kalisitiane Manu.

All six are now on bail.

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