Charges upgraded on day of funeral
Fri, 31 Aug 2012 10:50a.m.
By 3 News online staff
Two men charged with common assault in relation to the death of a police officer in Tonga have had their charges upgraded to manslaughter.
More than 1000 people attended the funeral for South Auckland constable Kali Fungavaka, in Otara this morning.
Mr Fungavaka died after he was beaten while in police custody, following his arrest for a minor drunkenness offence in Nuku'alofa last week.
The 38-year-old was off-duty in the Tongan capital while he attended the funeral of his grandfather.
One person was initially charged with murder over Mr Fungavaka's death, however that charge has now been reduced to manslaughter. Two other Tongan officers have had their charges upgraded to manslaughter.
All three men were remanded in custody and will reappear on September 24.
Colleagues from the Counties Manukau police station helped carry Mr Fungavaka’s coffin, draped in a New Zealand flag, as a lone piper played.
More than 200 members of the police are attending the service – including two deputy commissioners.
Media was escorted inside the church with the family asking for privacy.
Mr Fungavaka was awarded a New Zealand Bravery Medal in 2006 for saving a burning woman at an Auckland petrol station, an incident which prompted him to join the police force.
He is survived by his wife and four children, who were all at his bedside when he passed away in Tonga.
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1/09/2012 10:58:06 a.m.
This is a no manslaughter or a common assault but a pure murder case, Mr. Fungavaka died of an injury caused by the Tonagan police..
The Tongan police are responsible for Fungavaka's death, they murdered him and put the blame on the person in cell.. GUILTY GUILTY, Justice must serve..
31/08/2012 1:27:16 p.m.
Heartbreaking for all involved; a good soul has been lost.
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