23 Feb 2010

Tonga lawyer says enough evidence in Ashika inquiry to lay charges

11:33 am on 23 February 2010

In Tonga, the lawyer acting for a family whose relative died in the Princess Ashika disaster last August wants charges laid against all who broke the law by failing to ensure the ship was seaworthy.

Soane Foliaki says the evidence emerging at the Royal Commission into the sinking which claimed 74 lives lays ground for charges of manslaughter by negligence.

Richard Pamatatau reports.

"Soane Foliaki says the inquiry has provided police with enough evidence to arrest a number of people involved with the disaster."

He says the evidence is not only the lack of due diligence around the ferry purchase but the failure of those in public office to follow legislation controlling their behaviour. A New Zealand businessman involved in the purchase of the Princess Ashika, John Jonesse, has been arrested and charged with forgery, and knowingly dealing with forged documents.