4 Apr 2011

Tonga's Ashika sentencing adjourned

12:32 pm on 4 April 2011

Tonga is still waiting on the delivery of sentences for the four men who were found guilty in relation to the sinking of the ferry, the Princess Ashika.

The four men are the former Shipping Corporation of Polynesia's chief executive, New Zealander John Jonesse, captain Maka Tuputupu, first mate Semisi Pomale and a former transport ministry director, Viliami Tu'ipulotu.

They were each convicted on 30 counts on Friday, including one each of manslaughter by negligence in relation to the death of Vaefetu'u Mahe, whose body was one of just two recovered after the sinking.

They could face jail terms of up to ten years for the manslaughter charge, while the shipping company, which was also convicted, is likely to be fined.

Justice Robert Schuster is delivering the sentencing, but legal arguments are delaying the hearing.

It has now been adjourned until later this afternoon.

The men may still appeal the verdict.