Fugitive back in court next week as Tonga seeks extradition

The Federal court in Honolulu has set for next week a detention hearing for an American man wanted by Tongan authorities for the murder of his wife.

Both the government and defense have been asked to file briefings on the issue of extradition, which is being sought by the Kingdom of Tonga for the accused.

Dean Jay Fletcher was taken from American Samoa to Honolulu early last week by agents of the US Marshal Services following a diplomatic request from Tonga to the US Justice Department for extradition.

RNZ reports their correspondent said according to court records, Mr Fletcher made his initial appearance on Tuesday before US District Court Judge J. Mansfield, where discussions were held regarding extradition procedures.

She also said that Judge Mansfield scheduled for the 28th of November the defendant's detention hearing, on Federal prosecutor’s motion to detain Mr Fletcher without bail.

Additionally, the court and the parties will address the time within which to set the extradition hearing after the detention hearing.

Further, the court invited briefs from the parties on any issues they would like to address concerning the extradition hearing.

Honolulu-based Assistant U.S. Attorney Larry Butrick filed on Tuesday the 8-page "complaint for provisional arrest with a view towards extradition" with the Federal court.

Based on information from Tonga's government, Mr Fletcher is charged with murder, manslaughter and causing grievous bodily harm. The alleged murder occurred in July this year.

US prosecutors say Tonga have two months to provide authorities in Honolulu with extradition documents. And it will be up to the U.S. Department of State to determine if he'll be extradited.

 Photo: Tauva Esera