Havea Hikule‘o ‘oPulotu

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Havea Hikuleʻo ʻoPulotu, Lord Lasike, is a former Speaker of the Tongan Legislative Assembly.

Political career[edit]

Lasike was first elected to the Tongan Legislative Assembly, as a representative of the nobility, in a by-election in 2005, following Lord Nuku's appointment to Cabinet.[1] He was re-elected in the 2008 elections[2] and again in 2010. In March 2006, he was charged with rape and indecent assault,[3][4] after an incident involving an employee of a hotel he part-owns, but was acquitted.[5]

On 21 December 2010, Lasike was elected Speaker of the House.[6]

Conviction and removal[edit]

On 19 April 2011 Lasike was charged with unlawful possession of ammunition following a search of his hotel room in Nuku'alofa. Other firearms charges were dismissed.[7] On 14 October he failed to appear in court, and a warrant was issued for his arrest,[8] but later cancelled after he appeared.[9]

In December, Chief Justice Michael Scott issued a new warrant for his arrest, finding that he had breached the conditions of his bail. He had been granted permission to travel to Israel as part of a parliamentary delegation, but had instead flown to the United States, where he had reportedly got married.[10] [11] Prime Minister Lord Tuʻivakano called upon Lord Lasike to resign as Speaker.[12] In mid-January, Lasike returned to Tonga, and was immediately arrested and taken to court, where his passport was taken from him.[13] He was also criticised for having "abandoned" the delegation he was supposed to have led in Israel, thus jeopardising a mission said to be important for Tonga's diplomatic and economic relations with the country.[14] Having pleaded not guilty to the count of illegal possession of two .22 ammunitions, he was tried in early July. His counsel was Clive Edwards.[15]

On 9 July 2012, Lasike was convicted of illegally possessing ammunition and fined US$280.[16] As a result, he automatically forfeited his seat in Parliament.[17] Lord Nuku was elected his seat in a by-election.[18] In October, Lasike was acquitted on appeal; the Court of Appeal ruled that the Crown prosecution had not proved that Lasike had been aware that the incriminating ammunition was in his possession.[19] Lasike immediately announced that he would challenge his dismissal from Parliament.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Tongan nobles choose two new assembly members". Radio New Zealand International. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2010-12-21. 
  2. ^ "Lord Laskie". Parliament of Tonga (cached). Archived from the original on February 3, 2011. Retrieved 2010-12-21. 
  3. ^ "Tongan noble Lasike to stand rape trial". Radio New Zealand International. 2006-03-27. Retrieved 2010-12-21. 
  4. ^ "Lasike rape case awaits judge's decision". Islands Business. 2006-07-28. Retrieved 2010-12-21. 
  5. ^ "Lasike acquitted of criminal charges". Pacific Islands Broadcasting Association. 2006-07-31. Retrieved 2010-12-21. 
  6. ^ "Tonga parliament chooses Lasike as speaker". Radio New Zealand International. 2010-12-21. Retrieved 2010-12-21. 
  7. ^ "Tonga's Speaker Lord Lasike charged with ammunition offence". Matangi Tonga. 2011-10-14. Retrieved 2011-10-19. 
  8. ^ "Judge orders arrest of Tonga's Speaker, Lasike". Matangi Tonga. 2011-10-14. Retrieved 2011-10-19. 
  9. ^ "Lord Lasike arrest warrant cancelled". Matangi Tonga. 2011-10-14. Retrieved 2011-10-19. 
  10. ^ "Tonga speaker at risk of arrest over bail breach", Radio New Zealand International, 22 December 2011
  11. ^ "Tonga’s Speaker facing arrest when he returns to the country", Radio New Zealand International, 27 December 2011
  12. ^ "Tonga leader says Speaker should resign following breach in bail conditions", Radio New Zealand International, 28 December 2011
  13. ^ "Tonga speaker arrested for breaching bail terms twice", Radio New Zealand International, 19 January 2012
  14. ^ "Tonga's Speaker accused of embarrassing the country", ABC Radio Australia, 25 January 2011
  15. ^ "Four Tongan Lords charged in pending cases", Matangi Tonga, 1 June 2012
  16. ^ "Tonga Speaker convicted for illegal possession of ammunition". Radio New Zealand International. 2012-07-09. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  17. ^ "Tonga Speaker barred from Parliament following conviction". Radio New Zealand International. 2012-07-18. Retrieved 2012-07-18. 
  18. ^ "Lord Nuku wins 'Eua nobles by-election", Matangi Tonga, 2 August 2012
  19. ^ "Lord Lasike acquitted by Appeal Court", Matangi Tonga, 12 October 2012
  20. ^ "Lasike challenges removal as Tonga Speaker", Radio New Zealand International, 12 October 2012