27 Mar 2003

Tonga's supreme court reserves judgement in newspaper ban case

5:03 pm on 27 March 2003

The judicial review of a Tongan government ban of the Taimi O Tonga newspaper has finished with the Supreme Court reserving judgement until next Thursday.

Last month, the Tongan government declared the New Zealand-printed newspaper a prohibited import after alleging that the paper wanted to overthrow the government.

Later, Tonga's privy council declared the newspaper a prohibited document.

During this week's proceedings, the paper presented seven witnesses while the government had four witnesses take the stand.

The government has argued that the privy council cannot be subjected to a judicial review.

The New Zealand government has criticised the Tongan move, with the foreign minister, Phil Goff, saying the Tongan government could have tested its case by taking the paper to court in either New Zealand or Tonga.