22 Sep 2015

Tonga's Minister loses fight for jury in election hearing

11:06 am on 22 September 2015

An appeal court in Tonga has dismissed an MP's request to have a jury in the hearing on a election petition against him.

The Minister of Infrastructure, 'Etuate Lavulavu, had an election petition filed against him following accusations of bribery during his election campaign in November last year.

In April, Lord Chief Justice Paulsen had ruled there will be no jury in the hearing, but Mr Lavulavu appealed the decision.

Matangi Tonga reports the court dismissed the appeal, ruling the constitutional right to a jury in civil cases with disputes of fact did not apply, as the electoral matter is not strictly a civil action.

The hearing will proceed without a jury in November.

An election petition filed against Tonga's Minister of Infrastructure, 'Etuate Lavulavu, for alleged illegal practices will be heard by a Supreme Court judge in July.

An election petition filed against Tonga's Minister of Infrastructure, 'Etuate Lavulavu, for alleged illegal practices will be heard by a Supreme Court judge in July. Photo: Facebook

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs