6 May 2010

Former Tonga Attorney General returns to Australia

2:11 pm on 6 May 2010

John Cauchi, who resigned as Tonga's Attorney General last week, has reportedly returned to Australia.

Mr Cauchi, whose post was partly funded by the Australian Government aid agency, AusAID, said he couldn't continue because of government interference in the judiciary.

He says this included the executive directly appointing a judge without referral to the Attorney General or the Judicial Services Commission; a lack of backing for special prosecutors to hear cases arising from the sinking of the Princess Ashika and plans to abolish the Judicial Services Commission.

The resignation has sparked an outcry in Tonga but the Government has claimed Mr Cauchi wasn't up to the job, that he tested the government's patience and he'd degraded the post through inappropriate activism.

Mr Cauchi's office reports he has returned to Australia.