Vaimoana Tapaleao is the New Zealand Herald's Pacific Affairs and People reporter.

Tongan cops committed for Fungavaka trial

Kali Fungavaka. Photo / Supplied
Kali Fungavaka. Photo / Supplied

Five Tongan police officers are among those set to stand trial over the manslaughter of New Zealand constable Kali Fungavaka.

In Tonga today, a Supreme Court judge committed three police officers - Fatai Faletau, Tevita Vakalahi and Manu Tu'ivai - for trial. The trio had initially been discharged in a magistrate decision that ruled there was not enough evidence to charge them.

Following an appeal from the Crown however, they will now join two other officers and a civilian for trial on the manslaughter of Counties Manukau officer Mr Fungavaka.

The 38-year-old died last August while in Tonga for his grandfather's funeral.

He had earlier been taken into custody for a minor drunken incident and was allegedly beaten repeatedly, causing severe head injuries.

The six accused will appear in the Supreme Court in Tonga's capital, Nuku'alofa, on August 5, when a trial date will be set.

- NZ Herald

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