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Stabbing accused in court again

Monday March 12, 2018 Written by Published in Crime

A 20-year-old facing charges of common assault and wounding with intent had his case adjourned when he appeared before Justice of the Peace John Whitta in the Cook Islands High Court on Thursday morning.

Tamati Mahia was charged in the aftermath of an incident believed to have taken place in Tupapa on July 19 last year.

It is alleged that Mahia attacked a then 17-year-old male at a party, smashing a bottle over his head and stabbing his thigh, leaving a deep flesh wound. The case has been ongoing for a while now and has attracted considerable controversy.

Last year CINews reported that Mahia had fled the country, slipping past immigration to escape to Australia. The then 20-year-old eventually returned to Rarotonga.

He was discharged without conviction by JP Bernice Manarangi, after pleading guilty to a charge of common assault.

However, the victim’s family alleged at the time that the police were misrepresenting the case, mainly because Mahia’s parents allegedly had close ties to a senior police officer.

Family members alleged the police had failed to disclose information to the court, including the summary of facts relating to the assault, injuries and had not read the victim’s impact statement. They said no mention of the stabbing had ever taken place. The police had then asked the victim for a second statement as the first one had been “lost”, they added.

The victim’s parents complained that their son was being harassed by the police, with officers allegedly requesting that he make changes to his statement.

In September last year, JP Manarangi’s decision to discharge Mahia without conviction was quashed by Justice Patrick Keane. Keane said there were inconsistencies in the defence’s submissions and that no mention of the stabbing had occurred prior to the case being appealed.

Mahia’s case was adjourned as his counsel, Martha Henry, said she had just received a second lot of disclosure information from the police.

She said she would need time to assess the information. Mahia has not entered a plea to the new charges. His bail conditions relating to his place of residence were amended. Mahia is scheduled to reappear in court on April 5.

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