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Nine in court on dishonesty charges

Tuesday June 30, 2015 Written by Published in Crime

Nine dishonesty charges were brought before Justice of the Peace John Whitta and assisting Justice of the Peace Tangi Taoro in the High Court on Thursday, June 25.


Matauti Tokanoa, Lester Aerepo, Junior Tipoki and Kristina Kimiora Tekii Reiger, represented by defence counsel Mark Short, entered pleas of guilty to multiple charges of using a document fraudulently to obtain a pecuniary advantage. Tipoki faced three counts and Reiger eight. Both are scheduled to appear for sentencing before Justice Doherty in mid-July.

Otea Hosea Anania Taripo, Lydia Lucy Twin Johnson, Michael Brown and Joseph Wichman all appeared on similar charges of theft.

Taripo entered a plea of not guilty to a single charge of theft. His defence counsel, Wilkie Rasmussen, said it was his client’s first offence and first appearance in court.

He said it was a simple case of Taripo borrowing a mobile phone to make a call, returning it to where he got it from, but in the middle of a social gathering it had gone missing.

It was just unfortunate that the owner had been unable to ‘point the finger’ at anyone else other than the person who had last seen and borrowed the phone, Rasmussen said.

An application for diversion was made, and is now awaiting confirmation. Taripo will return for call over on July 2.

Johnson was called on a charge of theft, however it was discovered that a summons request had not been delivered to her and the case was adjourned until July 2.

Brown appeared on four separate charges of theft, theft by finding, assault on a female and refusing to undergo a breath test.

 Defence counsel Brian Mason explained that due to unavoidable circumstances he had been ‘swamped’ with work and had been unable to thoroughly review the case.

He sought an adjournment until July 2, which was granted.

Wichman, who is in custody, entered pleas of guilty to charges of theft and contempt of court and was ordered to appear for sentencing on July 28. An application for his release was made but was challenged by police prosecutor Martin Iro on the basis that the defendant had no permanent place of residence.

 It was then confirmed by a relative that he had a secure place to reside in Arorangi and an application for release was granted.

Iti o te ra Matakino failed to appear on a single charge of unlawful taking. Defence counsel Norman George was granted a one-week adjournment to give him time to locate his client and discuss a way forward with prosecution.

Teokotai Taruia and Teuatabo Ariu both appeared on charges of being unlawfully found on premises.

Defense counsel Brian Mason clarified a concern regarding Taruia’s ability to soundly enter a plea.

 A report from a local doctor is still required and until that has been presented to the court, Taruia will remain in custody. Taruia is scheduled to appear on a call over on July 2.

Ariu appeared on two separate charges of being unlawfully found on premises and entering with intent.

 He pleaded guilty to the charge of unlawfully found, but his defence counsel, Wilkie Rasmussen, sought approval from the court to allow him time to review the other charge of entering with intent. A sentencing date was set for August 13. 

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