22 May 2002

Tongan court case over forged letter

6:19 am on 22 May 2002

The trial is underway in Tonga of three pro-democracy workers and a newspaper editor.

MPs Akilisi Pohiva and Isileli Pulu, and journalist Po'oi Pohiva, are charged with forgery and knowingly dealing with a forged document while the editor of the Taimi O Tonga newspaper, Mateni Tapueluelu, is charged with dealing with a forged document.

Charges against Laucala Pohiva, who works as a journalist at Taimi O Tonga, have been dropped for lack of evidence.

Ms Pohiva says she is happy that she is now free to do her job as a reporter.

"I think I'm satisfied with that decision and I'm glad that I'm out to continue doing the job since Mateni has been busy in court every day"

Laucala Pohiva.

The charges relate to the publishing of a letter which claimed the King had a secret bank account worth millions of dollars.