Disappearing acts displease Justice
Record assault on a female charges
Disappearing acts displease Justice
Justice of the Peace Carmen Temata has warned lawyers of their duty to the courts and their clients after two people had to have their cases adjourned because their lawyers were not present.
“This is a concern. It is not good to have the court system blocked up with unfinished cases. The message needs to be put across to counsels not to keep adjourning their matters,” said Temata.
One defendant, Michael Brown, 41, was ready to be sentenced for breach of probation and assault on a constable at the High Court on Thursday, but his matter had to be adjourned to March 6 because his lawyer Wilkie Rasmussen was not present.
“This isn’t fair on Brown. I will note this down and will advise the registrar to contact Rasmussen... This is the third time he has failed to appear without advising the courts or his clients,” said Temata.
Another three of Rasmussen’s clients had to have their matters adjourned.
Another defendant, Watson Edward, had his case adjourned for the fifth time. He had pleaded not guilty to a charge of refusing to permit a medical officer to take a blood specimen and is awaiting a trial date to be fixed. Police prosecutor Fairoa Tararo asked for an adjournment, and said it may be adjourned again as Edward’s matter will be passed to another counsel. His lawyer Tony Brown has had to relinquish his lawyer responsibilities after becoming Secretary to the Queen’s Representative.
“I encourage all parties to find closure for this matter,” said Temata.
According to the Law Practitioners Act 1993-94, all law practitioners must abstain from any behaviour that may discredit their profession, furthermore, that it is “improper for a practitioner to accept a case unless he can handle it promptly and with due competence, without undue interference by the pressure of other work.”
If a complaint of misconduct is made it is forwarded to the Chief Justice for investigation and could lead to being struck off the barrister/solicitors roll.
Record assault on a female charges
The High Court on February 27 was presided over by Justices of the Peace Carmen Temata, Mata Nooroa and Georgina Williams, who made the following judgements:
Metuamoeroa Tangatapoto, appeared for a charge of assault on a female. His matter was adjourned to March 6 to give him time to seek counsel. Police prosecutor Fairoa Tararo told the court that Tangatapoto will enter a plea at his next appearance if he could not find a lawyer.
Rongo Tarai, 20, appeared in court charged with assault on a female and wilful damage. As he was being represented by Tony Brown who is now focusing on his new occupation as Secretary to the Queen’s Representative, his matters were adjourned to March 6 without plea to give him time to find another lawyer.
Teupoo Araipu, 46, pleaded not guilty to a charge of assault on a female. He had been remanded in custody, and police requested he be released at large and an adjournment made for two weeks so that he can seek counsel. JP Temata expressed concern for the safety of the victim, who is the defendant’s wife, and made a request to ask the victim if she feels safe having her husband released and if she had anywhere to stay.
The victim said she wanted her husband to return home.
Temata released Araipu from custody and adjourned the matter to March 20.
Manuela Tangimetua, 18, pleaded guilty to a charge of assault on a female. Police prosecutor Fairoa Tararo told the court that in the early hours of February 9, Tangimetua had slapped the victim several times and pulled her hair, angry at her for an earlier incident. Tararo added that the assault was unprovoked and fuelled by alcohol and that the victim sustained minor bruising as a result.
He recommended a 12 month probation sentence and a reparation fee of $20.
Tangimetua was convicted and placed on probation for 12 months with the conditions that he not consume or purchase alcohol, not enter a liquor licenced premises and to attend any workshop or counselling ordered by Probation Services.
Trainee Mataio, 19, appeared in court for a charge of assault on a female. The prosecution said the case was still being reviewed by Crown Law and they have not had any feedback yet. The case was adjourned to March 6 without plea.
Samuela Karaponga, pleaded not guilty to a charge of assault on a female. Defence counsel Brian Mason asked for an adjournment of one week to discuss the matter with his client. Police made no objection, the matter was adjourned to March 6.
Teremamao Taia, 30, appeared in court for a charge of assault on a female, however an adjournment was made to March 6 as Taia’s counsel Charles Petero was absent.
Ngatupuna Moeroa, 17, pleaded guilty to a charge of common assault and not guilty to entering with intent. He told the court he will not be seeking counsel. Adjournment was made for a call over to set a date for sentencing on the common assault charge. Moeroa was advised by JP Temata to seek counsel for the entering with intent charge, as it is a serious charge that holds a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment. He is charged for entering a private property in Akaoa. All matters were adjourned to March 20.
Tipora Mahia, 26, appeared in court for a charge of common assault, for assaulting her sister. Police prosecutor Fairoa Tararo asked for the matter to be adjourned as it was under family discussion.
Amosa Koiatu, 28, was charged with breach of probation and excess breath alcohol. He requested that his matters are adjourned so that he can seek counsel. Matters were adjourned to March 20 without plea.
Dominique Taru, 21, pleaded guilty to a breach of his probation conditions barring him from consuming and/or purchasing alcohol and entering a liquor licenced premises. According to police prosecutor Fairoa Tararo, Taru had been spotted in the early hours of February 22 by police at Heidi’s Bar drinking a can of Woodstock. When questioned by police Taru admitted he understood he was under strict conditions. He was convicted and fined $30 plus $30 court costs.
Tracy Hunt, 52, through counsel has elected trial by judge and jury for a charge of careless driving causing bodily injury. Defence counsel Tony Manarangi asked for an adjournment to set a trial date. Adjournment was made to March 19 for call over.
Vina, David, Malina Reuther, had their matter adjourned for a week for defence counsel Tony Manarangi to seek further instruction. All three defendants are charged with failing to cause proper books of account to be kept. Adjournment was made to March 6.
Siliamoanalulu Lubena, 24, appeared in court for new charges of wilful damage. Police prosecutor Fairoa Tararo had no option but to adjourn the matter for one week because defence counsel Wilkie Rasmussen did not appear to court. JP Temata advises Lubena that previous charges will be brought up; Lubena had been placed on a six month suspended sentence for charges of wilful damage in January. Adjournment was made to March 6.
Ngatokorua William, 26, appeared in court for a charge of excess blood alcohol. Defence counsel Brian Mason asked for a week adjournment as he had only received the matter recently and had not yet received disclosure from police. Adjournment was made to March 6 and William remanded at large.
Vaikaloa Taufahema, 19, had his case adjourned to March 6 as his lawyer Tony Brown is handing his matters over to another lawyer. Taufahema’s 24 hour curfew is to continue, along with variations to attend work and help in the family plantation.
Ngatokotoru Masters, 18, pleaded guilty to a charge of excess blood alcohol. According to police Masters had been involved in a motor vehicle crash in Nikao. A blood analysis revealed she had been driving with 174mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, 94mg over the limit.
Masters was fined $200 plus $30 court costs and $170 reparation to police for medical costs and the blood analysis. She was ordered to surrender her driver’s licence.
“This is a reason to go find a job, so you can pay your fines,” advised JP Temata.
Timothy Vaea, 45, did not appear to court. A bail bond was submitted by police as evidence that Vaea understood he was supposed to appear. A warrant was issued for Vaea’s arrest.
Teatuaaveroa Tuakanangaro, 18, also had his matters adjourned to March 6 as his counsel Wilkie Rasmussen did not appear. Tuakanangaro is charged with three counts of assault on a female. He has pleaded guilty to one and was due to be sentenced on Thursday.
Tom Tangimetua, 51, appeared on a charge of excess blood alcohol. Tangimetua was found with 267mg of alcohol per 100ml blood, three times over the limit. A date was set to April 22 for sentencing before three JP’s. A probation report was ordered.
John Pepe, 30, yet another client of Rasmussen’s had to have his matters adjourned to March 6. Pepe faces charges of possession of cannabis and possession of a utensil.