Two charged after death released
Mon, 03 Sep 2012 7:29p.m.
Two Tongan police officers charged with assaulting a New Zealand police officer who later died have been released on bail.
Constable Kali Fungavaka, 38, was arrested for drunkenness in Tonga's capital Nuku'alofa on August 17 and was allegedly assaulted by two local police officers before being taken to a police cell.
He was then allegedly assaulted by another man being held in the same cell and died six days later in hospital.
The officers, Salesi Maili and Fatai Faletau, have been released on bail on a charge of common assault following a court appearance this morning (local time), Radio New Zealand International reports.
They will reappear in court on October 1.
The third person charged in relation to the assault, Semisi Kalisitiane Manu, remains in custody on a manslaughter charge.
It was earlier reported that the two police officers would have their charges upgraded to manslaughter.
Tonga's Police Commissioner Grant O'Fee said that contrary to earlier advice from the Solicitor General's office, any change to the charges will only be made once an examination of the forensic evidence in New Zealand is complete.
Const Fungavaka's funeral was held in Auckland on Friday.
He 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.
Const Fungavaka, of South Auckland, was in Tonga attending his grandfather's funeral.
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