Vatikani and Tapueluelu lose libel case, owe Filihia $28,000

A Lower Court in Tonga said last week the editor of Keleʻa Newspaper ‘Ofa Vatikani and publisher Lautala Pōhiva Tapueluelu and the Keleʻa Tonga Ltd  defamed a business man ‘Aisea Filihia and as a result they must pay him TP$28,000 in damages and legal fees.

On May 18, 2015 the accused published an article claiming Filihia paid his workers only AUS$33.80 a week and at one stage he demanded AUD$70,000 from them.

The defamatory article claimed Filihia later threatened the 40 employees he hired from Tonga that each of them has to  pay $1,400 to him and his business partner.

Filihia was operating a fruit picking and packing services in Australia known as Quality Vine Saver Contractor.

The Magistrate said the accused failed in proving the contents of the said defamatory story.

He rejected the accused in their defence claiming the defamatory piece was a fair comment because the interests of the Tongan fruit pickers were materially affected.

He ruled the accused pay  the plaintiff TP$10,000 in damages  and TP$18,000 for his legal fees.

Sometimes when a business is growing, it needs a little help.

Right now Kaniva News provides a free, politically independent, bilingual news service for readers around the world that is absolutely unique. We are the largest New Zealand-based Tongan news service, and our stories reach Tongans  wherever they are round the world. But as we grow, there are increased demands on Kaniva News for translation into Tongan on our social media accounts and for the costs associated with expansion. We believe it is important for Tongans to have their own voice and for Tongans to preserve their language, customs and heritage. That is something to which we are strongly committed. That’s why we are asking you to consider sponsoring our work and helping to preserve a uniquely Tongan point of view for our readers and listeners.


Latest news

Related news