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November 1 Supreme Court hearing for 2019 Pacific Games case


SUVA, Fiji – August 10, 2018: 1pm (Nuku’alofa Times): Chief Justice Owen Paulsten will hear the case between Government and the Pacific Games Council/TASANOC in the Supreme Court here in Nuku’alofa on November 1.

Lawyers representing the Tongan government were allowed to make a late response to the legal suit brought against it by the Pacific Games Council.

The Council and the Tonga Association of Sports and National Olympics Committee are suing the government over its decision to withdraw from hosting the 2019 Pacific Games.

Writ of summons issued at the Nuku’alofa Supreme Court on May 15, sees TASANOC seeking damage of TP$2,612,256,59 (NZ$1,745,619.60) while the PGC wants TP$5,841,924.40. (NZ$3,911,764.22).

Government lawyer Dr Rodney Harrison successfully appealed to the court to allow the late submission after the government missed the May deadline.

The Pacific Games Council and Tonga’s Olympic Committee applied for a default judgement in their favour after the government missed various deadlines to respond to the action.

Radio New Zealand has reported that the Council withdrew its application and was given a month to answer a government challenge to have the Olympic Committee removed as a plaintiff.

The head of the 2019 Pacific Games Organising Committee, Lord Sevele, has argued that only TASANOC committee had the right to cancel hosting the Games.

The government of Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva has argued that the contract for Tonga to host the Games was signed between the Tongan government and the Pacific Games council, not the organising committee

PM Pōhiva said he had decided to withdraw from hosting the Games on the grounds of costs, even though fund raising taxes and guarantees of outside financial help were in place.

Samoa will now host the Games, where Tonga will also participate.

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