Magistrate’s decision sent out wrong message, Supreme Court declares

ʻOku ʻi lalo ʻi he ongoongó ni ha fakamatala faka-Tonga ki he talanoá ni

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Tonga Police/Twitter

The Supreme Court has described a magistrate’s decision to release  a senior policeman whose vehicle had collided with another car with only a severe reprimand as manifestly inappropriate.

The court was told that on December 26 last year, a vehicle driven by Chief Inspector Ashley Fua collided with the rear of a parked vehicle outside a Chinese takeaway on the Taufa’ahau Rd at Fanga.

The parked vehicle was occupied. Chief Inspector Fua apologised to the driver and passenger and told them he would repair their vehicle. A number  of policemen arrived and officers noted that  his eyes were bloodshot and he smelt of alcohol.

Police officer Taufe’ulungaki took Fua to the hospital, but an alcohol test could not be performed because the equipment was not working.

The Chief Inspector accepted that he was at fault and said he would pay to have the other car repaired.

When he appeared before the Magistrate’s Court he was discharged without conviction, but was severely reprimanded.

The Crown appealed against the outcome and Fua  accepted  that  he  should  be  re-sentenced.

In the Supreme Court Hon. Justice Cato said the result had been “manifestly inappropriate” and that the sentencing process had miscarried.

“The Magistrate’s decision merely to severely reprimand was inadequate and sent out entirely the wrong message to the  public,” Hon. Justice Cato said.

He noted that Chief Inspector Fua had pleaded guilty immediately and had suffered embarrassment in the police force and in public because of the incident.

Nevertheless, he said that the Magistrate should have imposed a proper penalty.

He convicted Chief Inspector Fua of reckless driving and fined him $500.

The main points

  • The Supreme Court has described a magistrate’s decision to release a driver whose vehicle hit another car with only a severe reprimand as manifestly inappropriate.
  • The court was told that on December 26 last year, a vehicle driven by Chief Inspector Ashley Fua collided with the rear of a parked vehicle.
  • When he appeared before the Magistrate’s Court he was discharged without conviction, but was severely reprimanded.
  • The Supreme Court He convicted Chief Inspector Fua of reckless driving and fined him $500.

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  1. Ko e tu’utu’uni ko ia ‘a e fakamaau polisí ke tuku ange ha ʻofisa polisi māʻolunga ʻaki pe hano akonakiʻí fefeká naʻe fuʻu taʻefeʻunga ʻaupito ia.

    Naʻe fakahā ki he fakamaauʻangá ʻi Tīsema ʻaho 26 ʻo e taʻu kuo ʻosí naʻe tuiʻi ai ʻe ha meʻalele naʻe fakaʻuli atu ai ʻa ʻInisipēkita Polisi Pule Ashley Fua ha taumui ʻo ha kā naʻe tau ʻi tuʻa ʻi ha teikiʻauei Siaina ʻi Fanga he Hala Taufaʻāhaú.

    Naʻe ʻi ai e heka ʻi he meʻalele naʻe tuʻú. Naʻe kole fakamolemole ʻa ʻInisipēkita Fua ki he fakaʻulí mo e pāsesé mo ne tala ange te ne ngaohi ʻena meʻalelé. Naʻe tau atu ki ai ha kau polisi pea naʻe fakatokangaʻi ʻe he kau ʻofisá ʻoku loʻa hono matá pea namu ʻolokaholo.

    Naʻe ʻalu leva ʻa e ʻōfisa polisi ko Taufeʻulungaki mo Fua ki fale mahaki ka ne ʻikai lava hano tesi ʻolokaholo ʻo fakahoko he ne maumau e meʻangāué ia.

    Naʻe tali pe ʻe he ʻInisipēkita Pulé ko hono foʻui mo ne pehē te ne totongi pe fakamole ki hono ngaohi e kaá.

    Ko e taimi ko ē ne hā ai ʻi he Fakamaauʻanga Polisí naʻe tuku ange ia ʻikai hano tautea, ka ko hono akonakiʻi fefeka pe.

    Ka naʻe tangi ʻa e Kalauní ʻi he ola e hopó ni pea tali pe ʻe Fua naʻe totonu pe ke ʻi ai hano tauea.

    ʻI he fakamaauʻangá lahi lolotonga e hopo tangí naʻe fakahā ʻe Fakamaau Cato ko e olá naʻe fuʻu mahino ʻene taʻefeʻungá pea naʻe hala ʻa e founga fakahoko tauteá.

    Naʻá ne pehē ko e tuʻutuʻuni ko ia ke akonakiʻi fefeká naʻe ʻikai feʻunga pea ne ʻave atu ai ʻa e fekau mātuʻaki hala ki he kakaí.

    Naʻe mahino pe kia Cato naʻe tali halaia pe ʻa Fua peá ne ongoʻi mā ʻi he potungāué pea ʻi he kakaí foki koeʻuhī ko e meʻa ko ʻeni naʻe hokó.

    Neongo ia naʻá ne pehē naʻe tonu pe ke hilifaki ʻe he Fakamaau Polisí hano tautea fakalelei.

    Naʻá ne tautea ai ʻa Fua ki he fakaʻuli taʻetokanga pea ke ne totongi ʻa e paʻanga $500.