Tonga's acting attorney general, Aminiasi Kefu, has defended his involvement in the Lord Tu'ilakepa gun case, saying he was advising the court as his position requires.
This follows a scathing attack on him by the prime minister, Akilisi Pohiva, who claimed that Mr Kefu had ignored public empathy, and lacked impartiality, independence and fairness in pleading a lesser sentence.
Lord Tu'ilakepa was fined on the illegal possession of guns and ammunition charges.
Mr Kefu says there are inaccuracies in the prime minister's statement and it shows little understanding of how the law works.
He reminded Mr Pohiva of the separation of powers required by the constitution, and says as a public official he is bound by the principles of good governance, accountability and transparency.