Lord Chief Justice Paulsen has criticised a magistrate for not providing reasons for his decision in a child support case.

“I have previously  commented  on the  Magistrates’  duty  to give reasons for their decisions which is a fundamental requirement of due process,” Lord Chief Justice Paulsen said.

“It is entirely unacceptable that no reasons were given by the Magistrate in this case.

“On rare occasions in contested proceedings the Court may issue orders with reasons to follow, but if this  is  necessary the reasons must be provided at the first  available  opportunity.

“In this case over six months have elapsed and that is unacceptable.”

In the original court case, on  25  November 2016, Magistrate  Tuita  ordered that Mr Wileon Fong of Pili was the father of the child or Ms Pasalona Tui, a single woman residing at Haveluloto in  Tongatapu.

He ordered that Fong pay Tui the sum of $150 per week until May 16, 2019  for maintenance of the child named Joshua Yuen Fong of which the said Wileon Fong was the father.

However, both Fong and Tui were dissatisfied with the judgement because no reasons were given for it.

“The parties could  be  forgiven  for  regarding  with scepticism reasons provided so long after the hearing and in the face of  a challenge to the orders made,” Lord Chief Justice Paulsen said.

“I have thought about requiring  the Magistrate  to  provide  his reasons,  but Counsel are of the view that the better course is that the appeal be allowed and remitted back to be heard again before another Magistrate and I agree.”

He ordered that the orders made by Magistrate Tuita be set  aside.

The case was remitted to the Magistrates’ Court for rehearing before another Magistrate.

The main points

  • Lord Chief Justice Paulsen has criticised a magistrate for not providing reasons for his decision in a child support case.
  • In the original court case, on 25  November 2016, Magistrate  Tuita  ordered that Wileon Fong of Pili was the father of the child or Pasalona Tui, a single woman residing at Haveluloto in
  • However, both Fong and Tui were dissatisfied with the judgement because no reasons were given for it.

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