Mele ‘Amanaki convicted of failing to file election expenses after Supreme Court overturns Magistrate decisions

The Supreme Court has ordered former parliamentary election candidate Mele ‘Amanaki to file her election expenses or face $200 fine or a one-month imprisonment term.

Mele Teusivi ‘Amanaki

‘Amanaki was required by law to file election expenses after she unsuccessfully contested the 2021 general election.

She was a candidate for the Tongatapu 7 Electoral District seat.

On May 25, 2022 a Learned Magistrate found Ms ‘Amanaki guilty and convicted her of failing to deliver a signed statement of her election expenses within 14 days from the date of the election.  

On June 1, 2022 she was sentenced and discharged without conviction under section 204 of the Criminal Offences Act.

Police appealed that sentence.

“The Crown argues that the Learned Magistrate ought not to have discharged Ms ‘Amanaki without conviction and his doing so was a misapplication of s.204 of the said Act. The Crown said the appropriate sentence was a fine ranging from $100 to $200”, a Supreme Court document said.

“Ms ‘Amanaki argued that the Learned Magistrate correctly applied his discretion in discharging her without conviction and that I should not allow the appeal”.

In her decision on January 11, 2023, Supreme Court Judge Petunia Tupou said:

“The Appeal is allowed. The order discharging Ms ‘Amanaki without conviction is quashed.

“Ms ‘Amanaki is convicted of failing to deliver a signed statement of her election expenses within 14 days from the date of election under s.24(4) and (5) of the Electoral Act and is fined $200 to be paid within a period of 1 month or on failure to pay, 1  month imprisonment”.

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