Kele’a Newspaper appeals magistrate ruling of $124,721.80

The Tongan Kele’a Newspaper along with the writer to the editor, Solomone Palu fined on June 12 for defaming seven ministers of the crown including the Prime Minister have filed on June 24 at the Nuku’alofa Supreme Court an appeal against the magistrate’s decision.

The newspaper said its lawyer, Sione ‘Etika claimed the total amount of damages ruled against the defendants fell beyond the power given to a magistrate to rule accordingly which is $10,000.

Magistrate Salesi Mafi ruled in favour of the plaintiffs and ordered the Newspaper together with Mr Palu to pay damages totalling  $124,721.80.

The defendants were taken to court by the plaintiffs following a letter to the editor of the newspaper published in October 2012.

The letter referred to claims made in Parliament against the ministers accusing the law could not make it to bring them to justice.

The newspaper said the letter has been allowed for publication as the writer was protected under the rights to fair comment and qualify privilege.  

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