League case in court
Man convicted of assaulting sister
Airstrip land owner upset
Family fight ends in high court
Arorangi romps in
Tax cases go to court
League case in court
Two 25-year-old Arorangi rugby league players appeared before Justice of the Peace Tiki Matapo in the Cook Islands High Court at Avarua
yesterday, each charged with assault.
The men, who appeared in the dock together and who were both represented by defence counsel Wilkie Rasmussen, did not enter pleas to the charges.
They both received interim name suppression until May 19.
Rasmussen said the charges were laid in relation to the same incident, although neither defendant was in a position to make a plea because prosecution had not disclosed all details of the alleged offending.
He sought name suppression on the basis there was a “high profile of community involvement” and the village of Arorangi’s reputation was at question.
“Once they plead, the interim name suppression can be lifted.”
Rasmussen said rugby league and referee associations were also dealing with the accused in relation to matters arising from the alleged assault incident.
“The positions they take will give us a much clearer understanding as to the facts and involvement of the two accused.”
He said both men were “integral” to the Arorangi rugby league club as “very good players”.
Both had appeared before a sports judiciary following the alleged assault, and had admitted breaching club rules, Rasmussen said.“Plans are being made with the rugby league and referee associations to meet with counsel to try and address these matters.”
Both accused were remanded on continued bail to May 19.
Man convicted of assaulting sister
For punching and slapping his sister in the face a 38-year-old Arorangi man was convicted and sentenced to 12 months probation by Justice of the Peace Tiki Matapo in the Cook Islands High Court at Avarua on Thursday.
Alex Kermode, an OTC employee, pleaded guilty to one charge of (being a male) assaulting a female at Panama on November 6 last year.
His probation conditions include an order for him to undertake any training, including anger management, deemed necessary by a probation officer and to pay reparation of $20 for a medical report of his sister’s injuries as a result of the attack.
Kermode hit his sister in the face with an open palm before punching her repeatedly in the face and head using both hands closed into fists.
His sister suffered bruising, swelling, scratch marks, and pain to her head and face as a result and was treated by a doctor at the Rarotonga hospital.
Police prosecutor Senior Sergeant Ruth Hosking-Tane said Kermode assaulted his sister at her workplace following an argument between the two.
She said it was Kermode’s first appearance before the court and recommended he receive a 12-month sentence of probation.
Defence counsel Norman George said Kermode was acting in self-defence and retaliation after his sister had thrown items – including a computer – at him.
George said there was an ongoing feud between Kermode and his mother and sister, who were caregivers of Kermode’s young son.
“He was quite concerned about the fact that his son, in their custody, was exposed to drugs.”
George said Kermode’s sister assaulted his partner of 13 years in a “savage attack”, which prompted Kermode to go to his sister’s workplace on November 6.“When the defendant saw the marks on his partner he was horrified and went to see his sister at her workplace for an explanation.”
George said Kermode’s sister scratched and hit him in the face, after which Kermode slapped and punched her.
“There’s no denial of that, although he acted in severe provocation. This assault was set up to trap the defendant.”
George said when the matter first came before the court Kermode pleaded not guilty and because prosecution witnesses failed to appear the case was dismissed, although police “revived” the charge.
A probation report recommended Kermode be discharged without conviction, which George “fully endorsed”.
George produced four character references in support of Kermode, citing his ability and dedication as a father, partner, employee, and sportsman.
Kermode lives with his partner and their two children and has represented the Cook Islands in rugby league on an international level.
JP Matapo said Kermode could not take the law into his own hands and could have avoided the incident.
The court accepted Kermode was a loving father “however it’s a pity he can not extend the same behaviour to others, especially his own sister”, JP Matapo said.
Travel Tangatapoto (27), groundsman, of Arorangi, was convicted and fined $200, ordered to pay court costs of $30, and disqualified from driving for 12 months for driving with an excess breath alcohol level of 500 micrograms at Arorangi on April 9.
He had pleaded guilty to the charge, as well as one of breaching a probation condition for him not to consume alcohol.
Tangatapoto received a probation sentence on September 2 last year for a charge of (being a male) assaulting a female.
For breaching probation he was convicted, fined $30, and ordered to pay court costs of $30.
Tangatapoto must also surrender his driving licence.
Matina Vaevae (38), chef, of Ngatangiia, was convicted and fined $200, ordered to pay court costs of $30, and was disqualified from driving for 12 months for driving with an excess blood alcohol level of 190.7 micrograms at Tupapa on March 26.
She had pleaded guilty to the charge and was also ordered to surrender her driving licence.
JP Matapo could not grant a reparation order of $180 for medical and analyst fees, as there was no corresponding invoice presented to the court by prosecution.
Haubold Steffen (50), self-employed, of Vaimaanga, was convicted and fined $200, ordered to pay court costs of $30, and disqualified from driving for 12 months for driving with an excess breath alcohol level of 460 micrograms at Arorangi on April 20.
Steffen had admitted the charge and was also ordered to surrender his driving licence.
Willie Marsters (38), self-employed, of Nikao, denied two charges of driving with an excess level of breath alcohol and driving dangerously at Panama on March 8.
Marsters was further remanded on bail to May 5 to appoint legal representation.
Ngaperoveta Ua (29), Ports Authority worker, of Arorangi, was convicted and sentenced to 12 months probation for assaulting his female partner at their Arorangi home on March 26.
Ua is not to consume or purchase alcohol while on supervision, nor can he enter liquor licenced premises.
The court heard how Ua was asleep on the toilet after consuming alcohol and was woken by his partner, with whom he began arguing.
He punched his girlfriend on the back of her shoulder about six times with a closed fist, grabbed her shirt and pulled her towards him causing her mouth to hit his shoulder, and used both hands to pull her hair – dragging her outside of the house.
“While under a coconut tree he grabbed a pocket knife and told the victim he would spare his blood for her,” Snr Sgt Hosking-Tane said.
When interviewed by police Ua told them he assaulted his partner because she broke a promise.
The victim suffered bruising and swelling but did not require medical treatment.
Ua has a previous conviction for driving while intoxicated.
He was not represented in court and declined to say anything when asked by JP Matapo.
An Avatiu teenager, who was granted interim name suppression, pleaded not guilty to one charge of assault with intent to injure.
He had previously admitted the charge but sought leave to vacate his guilty plea, which was granted.
The 17-year-old, who has no previous convictions, sought trial by three Justices of the Peace.
He was further remanded on bail to May 5 when a fixture date will be set.
Tali Ofa (27), maintenance manager, of Takuvaine, pleaded not guilty to a charge of (being a male) assaulting a female at Takuvaine on April 9.
Snr Sgt Hosking-Tane said the alleged victim in the matter had withdrawn as a prosecution witness and she sought an adjournment of the case.
Ofa had no legal representation in the court yesterday, which prompted lawyer Wilkie Rasmussen to support an adjournment of the case in order for counsel to be appointed.
Ofa was further remanded on bail to May 6, on conditions he not purchase or consume alcohol or enter a liquor licensed premises.
Tangimetua Kapi (30), of Nikao, pleaded guilty to one charge of assaulting another man at Nikao on April 10, although that plea was withdrawn by the court following submissions by Rasmussen.
Kapi was not represented in the court when he admitted the charge, and Rasmussen sought an adjournment of the matter in order for Kapi to appoint a defence counsel and re-consider his plea.
The case was adjourned to May 5, until which Kapi remains on bail.
Iorama Ngataua (22), builder, of Tupapa, appeared on a charge of (being a male) assaulting a female at Panama on April 10.
Crown prosecutor Catherine Evans said another charge of aggravated robbery, laid in relation to the same incident, had been made by the police against Ngataua, who has been in custody since first charged on April 13.
She sought an adjournment of the matter so police could continue their investigation related to the robbery charge, and for Ngataua to seek legal advice.
Ngataua was further remanded in custody to May 12.
Maryanne Pirake (48), employed, of Nikao, pleaded not guilty to one charge of theft as a servant on October 27 last year, when she was employed by the Cook Islands Police as an unsworn officer in the traffic licence issuing department.
She is now employed by Air New Zealand.
Defence counsel Charles Little said Pirake first denied the charge on February 12 and he sought an adjournment of the matter to May for it to be called before Justice Hugh Williams.
“There has been discovery and we elect trial by judge alone,” Little said.
Pirake was remanded on continued bail to a May fixture date yet to be set by the court.
Tipora Maihia (23), of Matavera, pleaded not guilty to one charge of theft and elected trial by three Justices of the Peace.
George sought an order for interim name suppression, which was declined.
He said Maihia had no previous convictions, would defend the charge, and until proven otherwise she was presumed innocent.
“It would be harmful for the defendant’s name to be thrown around at this early stage.”
He claimed the prosecution case against Maihia was weak and she was likely to be found not guilty.
Evans opposed the application because there were no legal reasons to suppress Maihia’s name.
“That the defendant doesn’t think the prosecution has sufficient evidence to prove the charge is not a ground for granting name suppression. It’s a privilege not a right – the public has a right to know the workings of the court and to see that justice is being done.”
Maihia was remanded at large to appear in the court on May 12 for call-over.
A 23-year-old Ngatangiia woman, who was granted interim name suppression, denied one charge of theft and was remanded at large to May 12 when the matter will next be called in the court.
Karlene Taokia (33), chef, of Matavera, appeared on a charge of careless driving causing injury at Matavera on December 21 last year, which related to a motor vehicle accident.
Taokia had previously denied the charge, although defence counsel Mathilda Miria-Tairea said discovery had not been completed.
A report from Pickering Motors Ltd about the state of the vehicle involved, and photographs taken on the day of the accident, had yet to be made available to counsel, Miria-Tairea said.
Taokia was further remanded on bail to appear in the court on April 28.
She has elected trial by judge alone, for which a date is yet to be set.
Nooroa Turepu (32), groundsman, of Ngatangiia, was released from the court as a free man after crown prosecutor Tuaine Manavaroa sought leave to withdraw one charge against him of smoking cannabis between July 1 and 22 last year.
Manavaroa said there was insufficient evidence to prove the charge and it was withdrawn.
George said he would not make an order for costs.
Joseph Uea (18), plasterer, of Arorangi, admitted one charge of breaking into and entering an Arorangi property with intent to commit a crime on March 28.
Manavaroa sought an adjournment for a probation report to be prepared for sentencing.
Uea was further remanded on bail to May 11, on the condition he complies with a curfew between 7pm and 7am.
Matangaro Lang (38), unemployed, of Tupapa, appeared on a single charge of breaching a non-molestation order at Tupapa on March 12.
George sought an adjournment of the case in order for a fixture date to be set by the court.
Lang was further remanded on bail to April 28.
Daniel Hewitt (20), unemployed, of Tutakimoa, was further remanded in custody for a psychiatric report to be considered in relation to whether he is mentally fit to plead to one charge of breaching a probation order.
Evans said the matter had previously been adjourned for the report to be analysed by a doctor who is to conclude whether Hewitt is fit to plead, although no such decision has been made to date. She sought a further adjournment to April 28, which was granted, so a doctor’s decision can be made available to the court.
Airstrip land owner upset
Manihiki land owner Ruhau Tamaunu.
Manihiki land owner Ruhau Tamaunu, who has just been convicted of endangering transport at the Manihiki airport on May 13, 2008, says he is planning to stop all airport operations on the island by withdrawing his airstrip land for use.
Tamaunu (55) says he owns 16 of the more than 40 lots which make up the Manihiki airstrip.
Although the land is not officially registered by title, Tamaunu says he is withdrawing the land he and his family has claim to – effectively making it private property.
By doing so, Tamaunu says no one will be able to use the land, including those involved in airport operations.
Tamaunu has not filed any associated documents to the land court, but says he will do so unless Manihiki community members can meet to discuss the issue and resolve it without legal intervention.
He feels “pissed off” some community members did not support his protest in 2008, which he says was for the good of the entire Manihiki population.
Tamaunu, along with fellow Manihikian Mataio Johnson and Rarotonga-based pearl farm owner Temu Okotai, prevented an Air Rarotonga flight from landing at the Manihiki airport in an attempt to delay a scheduled land court hearing on the island.
The flight’s passengers included a judge and court staff for the hearing, which was to officially determine ownership of the airstrip land in order for the government to lease and upgrade it.
Tamaunu and Johnson dug holes in the airstrip and planted a small coconut palm in one, having been incited by Okotai to prevent the flight from landing.
Yesterday Tamaunu said he was disappointed by the attitude of some Manihiki residents, which had prompted him to withdraw his family’s land for use as part of the island’s airstrip.
“Some people think I should be in jail, and that has really upset me.”
Tamaunu, along with Johnson and Okotai, was convicted and sentenced by Justice Hugh Williams in the Cook Islands High Court at Avarua on April 8.
All three were ordered to come up for sentence if called upon within three years, on conditions that they do not take any action which might endanger, hinder, or affect any aircraft movement on, to, or from the Manihiki airport or the continued operation of the airport.
“That will ensure that none of you interfere with the safety and use of the airport during that period, but leaves all of you free to engage in any land issues relating to the airport,” Justice Williams said.
The charge of endangering transport carries a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment.
When asked whether he understood his actions could be in breach of his sentence, Tamaunu yesterday said he thought he was free to withdraw his land for use as part of the airstrip.
During the judge and jury trial to determine whether Tamaunu, Johnson, and Okotai were guilty of the charges against them, the court heard that Manihiki airstrip land has not been formally investigated and accordingly there is no register of titles.
A land court hearing has not been held on the northern group island for more than 50 years.
Tamaunu says he wants the Manihiki community to resolve the issue of airstrip land ownership before the matter is brought before a court.
Until that happens, he says his land is for private use only.
“I’m not happy about what the Manihiki community thinks and I don’t want my land to be used until such a time that the people of Manihiki talk about it.”
Family fight ends in high court
For assaulting each other, three members of the same family were dealt with by Justice of the Peace Tiki Matapo in the Cook Islands High Court at Avarua last Thursday.
Terereiti Kureta (42), chef, of Nikao, was convicted and ordered to come up for sentence if called upon within six months for assaulting his sister-in-law Vaitupu Arinteiti at Nikao on March 26.
His wife Mereta Kureta (39), teacher, of Nikao, was discharged without conviction for assaulting Arinteiti – her younger sister – during the same incident.
Vaitupu Arinteiti (36), teacher, of Nikao, was convicted and ordered to come up for sentence if called upon within six months for assaulting her sister Mereta Kureta.
All admitted the charges against them when they appeared.
Police prosecutor Senior Sergeant Ruth Hosking-Tane said Mr Kureta and Arinteiti were drinking alcohol at the Kureta’s Nikao home when Arinteiti and Mrs Kureta began arguing with one another.
The sisters proceeded to assault each other, after which Mr Kureta tried to stop them by placing himself in between, but ended up assaulting Arinteiti.
None required medical treatment as a result of the combined assault.
Defence counsel Lavenia Rokoika, who represented all three defendants, said they were all apologetic about the incident and had moved on.
The three lived together at Nikao, Rokoika said.
The court heard how Mr Kureta owns Funji’s Takeaway where he also works as a chef.
He and his wife, who is a teacher at Papaaroa school in Titikaveka, are originally from Fiji.
Arinteiti, a teacher at Tereora College, originates from Fiji and Kiribati.
None of the three had any previous convictions.
JP Matapo said it was sad a family dispute had ended up before the court.
Arorangi romps in
The Arorangi premier netball grade caused headaches for Takuvaine at the TSA on Saturday to go on and comfortably win the match 63-36.
A new look Arorangi team definitely turned out to win this week as Takuvaine continue to firm up their player positions on court.
Meanwhile a fantastic game was seen between Avatiu and Tupapa with Avatiu pulling out all the stops to defeat Tupapa 63-36.
Things looked shaky for Avatiu when ace wing attack Mireille Winchester got injured just three minutes into the game but was ably replaced by teenager Odile Pauka.
The first quarter was all about ball retention for both teams with Avatiu taking out the first quarter by 4 points (15-11).
In the shooting Avatiu shooting circle, teenager Mati Toru and veteran Curly George were a formidable force.
Teenager Mati Toru was beautiful to watch under the goal playing and shooting with confidence and grace.
The Tupapa shooting combination of Mere Kamana and Annabelle Tuaati was also impressive but Avatiu goal keepers Nana Manuela and Mariana Tuaputa were out to take any ball that came towards the
Avatiu had increased their lead by 10 points (20-30) at the half time break.
Tupapa struggled through centre court as ace Tupapa midcourt player Mii Piri was heavily defended by Avatiu.
Avatiu pushed their lead out to 16 points after the third quarter (44-28) before striding out to a comfortable and confident 63-36 win against Tupapa, who beat the Avatiu girls in their first meeting this season.
Titikaveka premier grade players had a win by default this week and will no doubt be firing when they next hit the courts this week. - MW
– Under 10 Titikaveka 5 vs Ngatangiia 15, Under 10 Avatiu 1 vs Tupapa 15, Under 10 Takuvaine 2 vs Arorangi 12, Under 12 Titikaveka 15 vs Ngatangiia 3, Under 12 Avatiu 24 vs Tupapa 6, Under 12 Takuvaine 1 vs Arorangi 33, Under 15 Titikaveka 20 vs Ngatangiia 4, Under 15 Avatiu 13 vs Tupapa 22, Under 15 Takuvaine 10 vs Arorangi 20, Junior Open Titikaveka won by default against Ngatangiia, Junior Open Avatiu 23 vs Tupapa 39, Junior Open Takuvaine 43 vs Arorangi 28, Open 2 Titikaveka won by default against Ngatangiia, Open 2 Avatiu 41 vs Tupapa 13, Open 2 Takuvaine 26 vs Arorangi 15, Open 1 Titikaveka 48 vs Ngatangiia 18, Open 1 Avatiu won by default against Tupapa, Open 1 Takuvaine 23 vs Arorangi 32, Reserve Titikaveka 52 vs Ngatangiia 52, Reserve Avatiu 72 vs Tupapa 31, Reserve Takuvaine 70 vs Arorangi 43, Premier Titikaveka won by default against Ngatangiia, Premier Avatiu 63 Tupapa 36, Premier Takuvaine 49 Arorangi 68.
Tax cases go to court
Two Rarotonga-based companies are facing legal action for failing to file Value Added Tax (VAT) returns.
Justice of the Peace Tiki Matapo presided over both cases when they were called in the Cook Islands High Court at Avarua on Thursday.
John Young Ltd faces two charges of failing to furnish tax returns in 2009 and 2010.
Crown prosecutor Martha Henry said when the case was last heard in the court in March eight charges were withdrawn by the crown, leaving two.
Several informations relating to PAYE (Pay As You Earn) failing to furnish that and income tax were withdrawn. Eight informations were formally withdrawn at the last call-over, therefore the defendant is appearing today on two charges in relation to failing to furnish VAT.
No one from the company appeared in the dock to face the charges.
Henry said the company was not legally represented at the March call-over and an adjournment had been made for the firm to seek legal advice.
On behalf of the company counsel Lavenia Rokoika entered not guilty pleas to both charges, and sought an adjournment to June for disclosure to be made.
The matter will next be called in the High Court on June 9.
G and S Contractors Ltd faces 10 charges of failing to furnish tax returns between 2000 and 2010.
Henry said the companys legal representative was not available to appear in the court and asked for the matter to be adjourned.
It will next be called in the High Court on May 5.