16 Jul 2015

Tonga minister's election trial deferred

3:42 pm on 16 July 2015

The election petition trial involving Tonga's Minister for Infrastructure and Tourism Etuate Lavulavu has been deferred.

Matangi Tonga reports the trial has been put back pending the minister's appeal against a ruling by the Chief Justice.

The appeal is expected to be heard during the second Court of Appeal session later this year.

The election petition was filed in December and alleges Mr Lavulavu overspent on his campaign and offered bribes of money and gifts in connection with his election.

In April the Chief Justice ruled the trial would be heard by a judge of the Supreme Court sitting without a jury in Vava'u and Mr Lavulavu is appealing that decision.

Mr Lavulavu denies the illegal practices or excessive spending and wants the petition and costs dismissed.

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