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Judge questions charges in Tongan death

Monday 27 Aug 2012 1:16 p.m.

Constable Kali Fungavaka (NZ Police)

Constable Kali Fungavaka (NZ Police)

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A Tongan judge has questioned why two Tongan policeman have not been charged with the murder of New Zealand policeman, who was fatally bashed after being arrested in Nuku'alofa earlier this month.

Constable Fungavaka, 38, who was in Tonga for his grandfather's funeral, was arrested following a minor drunkenness incident on August 17. He was allegedly assaulted by two officers before being put in a cell where he was allegedly attacked again.

The South Auckland police officer died in hospital last Thursday.

Semisi Kalisitiane Manu, the man charged with murdering Kali Fungavaka, appeared in Nuku'alofa Magistrate's Court today.

Magistrate Pita Soakimi asked why only Manu had been charged with murder while the two policemen - named as Salesi Maile and Fatai Faletau - had not been similarly charged.

The three would now be arguing who was responsible for the death, he said.

Police prosecutor Mema Latu said the two policemen were charged with common assault while police continued their investigation.

Further examination on the victim's body would be carried out in New Zealand, he said.

The three men were remanded in custody to reappear on September 24.

Const Fungavaka's body was returned to New Zealand on Saturday.

He was awarded a New Zealand Bravery Medal in 2006 for saving a burning woman at an Auckland petrol station, an incident which prompted him to join the police.


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