14 Sep 2009

Five acquitted on charges of seditious conspiracy in Tonga

10:26 am on 14 September 2009

Five People's Representatives in the Tongan parliament in 2006 have been acquitted of a joint charge of seditious conspiracy.

A decision released by the Appeal Court said inadequate evidence had been provided by the Crown.

However, Clive Edwards, a Tongatapu People's Representative, lost an appeal to quash an individual count of speaking seditious words, in offences alleged to have led to the riots of November 2006.

This is the only count remaining.

The Court of Appeal of Tonga upheld full appeals by four other appellants, 'Akilisi Pohiva, Isileli Pulu, 'Uliti Uata and Lepolo Taunisila, in its decision released that a prima facie case of conspiracy to incite lawlessness or violence had not been established by the Crown.

Matangi Tonga news service says the five appellants were all charged with offences alleged to have occurred in a period culminating in the civil disturbances of 2006.