Supreme Court rejects Lavulavu’s appeal; ‘no evidence’ he cannot file documents by due date

The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by disgraced former politician ‘Etuate Lavulavu for more time to submit documents to support an appeal relating to the admissibility of the Auditor General’s report on the operations of the ‘Unuaki ‘O Tonga Royal Institute.

‘Akosita Lavulavu and husband ‘Etuate Lavulavu. Photo/Akosita Lavulavu (Facebook)

 ‘Etuate Lavulavu was the president of the private education provider in Tofoa and his wife  ‘Akosita was the director.

In his summary of the decision on the appeal, Lord Chief Justice Whitten said that on May 5, 2023, directions were made for the conduct of Mr Lavulavu’s objections as to the admissibility of the Auditor General’s report. Mr Lavulavu did not comply with those directions.

On June 7, 2023, at his request, the directions were varied. Mr Lavulavu did not comply with those varied directions.

On 14 July 14, 2023, at his further request, the directions were further varied. Three days later he applied again to vary the directions, arguing that  he had to travel to New Zealand on July 26, 2023, to attend a medical appointment for a urological assessment for possible prostate surgery.

He was granted bail to travel to New Zealand on July 26 and return by September 1. The former MP then asked for another extension for his submission to August 4.

“There is no medical or other evidence before the court to support Mr Lavulavu’s assertion that he is or will be unable to file any further documents in respect of his objections to the admissibility of the Auditor General’s report or appear at the hearing of the objections on the dates currently directed,” Lord Chief Justice Whitten said.

“On the contrary, Mr Lavulavu has repeatedly demonstrated an ability to prepare and file detailed and at times lengthy documents for his various applications over recent weeks and months.

“Mr Lavulavu has been provided ample opportunities to complete the filing of documents upon which he wishes to rely for the hearing and determination of his objections to the Auditor General’s report.

“The original objections, upon which Mr Lavulavu currently relies, were prepared and filed by Mr William Edwards, his then counsel, in April 2021.

“Mr Lavulavu has been afforded all reasonable accommodations for his medical conditions and for the fact that he has chosen to be self-represented since part way during the first trial.

“Any further delays to this proceeding, other than those managed by appropriate directions, are not in the interests of justice or those of any party to the proceeding.

“For those reasons, Mr Lavulavu’s request to further vary the current directions timetable is refused.”

For more information

Lavulavu found guilty of contempt of court by Judge Tupou in hearing over online interview

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