A group of men charged with murder following last year's riots in Tonga may never go to trial.
The riots in the capital of Nuku'alofa were sparked by the lack of democratic reforms by the nation's government and also involved widespread looting and hysteria.
Eight men were killed in fires lit during the violence and four men have been charged with their murder.
But, autopsy results and a fire report by Australian investigators are being held back because the Australian government fears the accused may be executed if found guilty, and they do not want to be party to that.
"For the sake of the country it'll be very sad if there comes a day that four people will be hung as a result of the events of November 2006," says defence lawyer Nelesoni Tupou.
New Zealand prosecutors and the Tongan government have been trying to get the reports for the past eight months but now face a new hurdle.
Lawyers for the accused have asked the court to drop the charges against their clients as the lack of an autopsy report means the causes of death cannot be proven.
"What worries me in this particular trial is that the punishment is capital punishment, meaning they'll be hanging," he says.
New Zealand's Crown prosecution team says it won't be seeking the death penalty and it is unlikely a New Zealand judge who would hear the case in Tonga would impose it.
Prosecutors remain hopeful they will be able to obtain the report and a Crown lawyer will travel to Tonga next week to put more pressure on the new Australian government.
However, Australian federal police say they have not yet
received a formal request from Tonga for the autopsy reports.