NZ constable 'put in choke-hold'

MICHAEL FIELD
Last updated 09:17 01/03/2013
BASHED: Kali Fungavaka
BASHED: Kali Fungavaka

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A man who was an inmate in a police cell where a New Zealand policeman was severely beaten has given gruesome testimony about the injuries suffered, Tongan media report.

South Auckland police Constable Kali Fungavaka was arrested last year while at drinking alcohol at a bar in Nuku'alofa, and was allegedly severely beaten by Tongan police.

He died a week later.

A preliminary inquiry or deposition hearing into the death has heard from 23 witnesses.

In the Nuku'alofa Magistrate's Court, Crown prosecutor Sione Sisifa told magistrate Salesi Mafi that there was a case for trial in the Supreme Court.

The magistrate reserved his ruling until next Tuesday.

According to Radio Australia, the court heard from an inmate who was in the police cell when Fungavaka arrived at 12.30 am.

He described extensive injuries which included massive wounding of the head and a broken neck.

The inmate was later made to help carry the comatose Fungavaka into a van to take him to hospital.

Radio Tonga said a police officer also gave testimony.

"The court heard today that one of the police officers who worked on that night saw one of the accused choke-hold Constable Fungavaka to control him and only let him go when he turned blue-black," the officer said.

"He also said another accused stamped on the victim's head causing him to pass out."

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