11 Dec 2007

Australia expects Tongan bid to help with riot convictions

4:11 pm on 11 December 2007

Australia will consider a request from Tonga for information about last year's fatal riots that could be used in a murder case attracting the death penalty.

A spokesman for the Australian federal police says there are issues relating to how Australian authorities cooperate with countries which have the death penalty.

He says they understand a request is likely to be made by Tongan authorities for the release of any autopsy report relating to the investigation into the unrest.

The riots left eight people dead and destroyed much of the capital's business district.

Australia helped with the investigation and the police spokesman says the probe has advanced to a stage where the death penalty might be on the table.