Bankrupt lawyer claims Supreme Court judgement will cause embarrassment in Tonga

    Fakahā 'e he Tukuhau Vāhenga 'a Nu'u Sila kuo ka'anga fakapa'anga 'a e loea Tonga tupu 'i Nu'u Sila ko Kahungunu William Barron-Afeaki he kuo' ne mo'ua 'o 'ikai lava totongi kiate kinautolu 'a e pa'anga 'e $245,430.88..

    Tongan lawyer Kahungunu William Barron-Afeaki claims that being declared bankrupt will cause him acute embarrassment in Tonga.

    Barron-Afeaki, who is a senior counsel to the Supreme Court of Tonga and provided advice to the king and government, has been declared bankrupt by the New Zealand Supreme Court.

    Associate Judge John Mathews Judge Matthews said Barron-Afeaki would have lesser standing within the culture and community of Tonga as a result of the judgement.

    “It is fair to record that Mr Barron-Afeaki has entirely brought this upon himself by not meeting his commitments to the Commissioner for the last five years,” the judge said.

    The New Zealand Herald reported that this was the second time the Tongan lawyer had been declared bankrupt.

    In 2011 the Inland Revenue Department successfully sought a declaration after it said he owed $415,808 in unpaid tax.

    This time the IRD won a declaration from the New Zealand Supreme Court after it said he owed $245,430.88.

    Despite being declared bankrupt, Barron-Afeaki is allowed to continue working as a lawyer.

    Counsel

    On his website Barron-Afeaki describes himself as a senior counsel and a commissioner of oaths in the kingdom of Tonga and principal researcher and of the Pacific Island Crime Prevention Strategy for Auckland Region in 2005.

    He obtained arts and law degrees from the University of Auckland, but stopped work on a doctorate 14 years ago.

    One of his brothers is a member of Tonga’s Privy Council.

    He was Legal Counsel for the former Minister of Transport Paul Karalus during the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Sinking of the MV Princess Ashika.

    The Royal Commission found the ship was “unquestionably unseaworthy and in an appalling condition”.

    It said Karalus “lacked any credibility or plausibility”.

    “If Mr Karalus had properly carried out his duties and responsibilities, Ashika should never have been purchased.” 

    Following the Commission he was one of a group of lawyers who issued  warnings to the  media about how they reported on the quashing of perjury charges against Lord Dalgety.

    The main points

    • Tongan lawyer Kahungunu William Barron-Afeaki claims that being declared bankrupt will cause him acute embarrassment in Tonga.
    • Barron-Afeaki, who is a senior counsel to the Supreme Court of Tonga and provided advice to the king and government, has been declared bankrupt by the New Zealand Supreme Court.

    For more information

    Inland Revenue claims Tongan King’s lawyer owes $245k, High Court declares him bankrupt

    Kiwi guilty of manslaughter in Ashika disaster

    Lawyers warn media after Tongan discharged

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