Akai appeared for sentencing after pleading guilty to a charge of assaulting a female, following an incident involving his wife.
The court was told that at the time of the incident, the off-duty police officer was apparently “extremely concerned” about the wellbeing of his wife who is believed to have been heavily intoxicated.
Akai, who had also been drinking, went searching for his wife with the help of his niece. After eventually locating his wife in a somewhat compromising situation, Akai had become enraged. He had lashed out, causing damage to the property and also assaulted his niece, striking her on the shoulder and the side of her head.
Akai had continued working as an officer for the Cook Islands police since the incident occurred. It is the first time that he had been before the courts.
His counsel, Mark Short, suggested the consequences of a conviction would be disproportionate to the gravity of the offence. He said Akai would lose his job if convicted. Short also said that his client had undertaken counselling and that the victim wanted the charges withdrawn.
The Crown did not oppose withdrawal of the charges and JP Williams agreed with Short, saying that the effects of a conviction would be disproportionate to the gravity of the offence. She therefore discharged Akai without conviction.
A prominent legal figure in the Cook Islands, who asked not be named, said that if the incident had occurred in New Zealand, Akai would most likely have lost his job.
He said that there would have been an expectation that Akai resign, regardless of the sentence imposed on him. The legal figure also told CINews it wasn’t the first time a police officer had been let off a charge due to the risk of them losing their job.
He claimed that the last time a police officer was discharged without conviction in the Cook Islands, he had left the country anyway, meaning the risk of him losing his job was irrelevant to sentencing.