5 Apr 2007

Son of Tongan politician in court on Nuku'alofa riot charge

1:51 pm on 5 April 2007

The son of a Tongan politician is to appear in the Supreme Court on charges of damaging property during the November riots in Nuku'alofa.

Three witnesses who were at the Pacific Royale Hotel when it was looted on November the 16th gave evidence at the Preliminary Hearing of 'Etuate Uata.

At the end of the hearing, the Police Prosecutor Latu Mohenoa ruled that there was a case to be heard.

Our correspondent in Nuku'alofa, Mateni Tapueluelu reports on why the case is noteworthy.

"He's the son of the people's representative from Ha'apai, one of the prominent promoters of democracy by the name of 'Uliti Uata and this is what makes the case significant. It appears that the son is pushing violently for democracy when the father is pushing for peaceful means inside parliament. Last week he was able to get off from the same charge but it had to do with the damaging of the King's own Shoreline which is the office for the power utility that the King monopolises, but in this one the magistrate was satisfied that there was enough evidence for the case to be heard at the Supreme Court."