30 Sep 2011

Jonesse free after successful appeal against Tonga Ashika sentencing

5:23 pm on 30 September 2011

The New Zealander John Jonesse, imprisoned for his role in the sinking of the Tongan ferry Princess Ashika, is a free man, following a successful appeal against his conviction.

Mr Jonesse headed the Shipping Corporation of Polynesia, which owned the ferry whose 2009 sinking caused the death of 74 people.

He was convicted on eight charges and sentenced to five years in jail for his part in the sinking but lodged an appeal in April.

The Court of Appeal in Tonga has based its decision on the suspension of four and a half years of the term and the fact that Mr Jonesse has already been imprisoned for six months.

The former captain and first mate of the Ashika are also appealing against their convictions while the Crown is appealing against what it considers the light sentences they were given.